I am aware of the issues surrounding potentially unsafe cladding issues across Romford and the country, and the difficulties residents are facing getting an EWS1 certificate in order to find out, and I am in regular communication with residents, the local council and the Government about the problems.
I understand concerns about the potential cost to leaseholders if the EWS1 Certificate shows that work is required to make the building safe, and that this would be unaffordable to most leaseholders. I am therefore proud to be supporting the McPartland Smith Amendment to the Fire Safety Bill.
This is not the fault of leaseholders who bought their properties in good faith, and they should not be expected to pay unreasonable or unaffordable costs to make their building safe.
The Fire Safety Bill is currently in the process of being scrutinised by Parliament. Amendments have been placed on it, including the McPartland Smith amendment.
I believe protecting residents from historic and future costs must be a key commitment of new building safety legislation, and I am therefore supporting this amendment when it comes before the house, as a way to ensure once and for all, that leaseholders will not have to bear the cost of these repairs under any circumstances.
It is not right that leaseholders have been put in this position of having a property which is effectively worthless until the cladding is removed, yet face potential costs of £10,000s to resolve the issue which you did not cause.
I am working with both the UK Cladding Action Group and the End Our Cladding Scandal campaign, which is asking for homes to be made safe as quickly as possible, protection and support for those living in unsafe homes, and action to unlock the market and allow people to move.
I am calling for the Building Safety Fund to cover all buildings, regardless of height, and a range of internal and external fire safety defects not just cladding, and for the Government to provide money upfront for the necessary work, then seek to recover it from the responsible parties to avoid delays.
I am also calling for the EWS1 certification to be sped up, to address the backlog of homes which may be in dangerous buildings and are currently unsellable without the form.
I am in communication with the Minister on this issue, and I am also lobbying the Government for a fund which protects all residents from paying for these historic costs.
I will therefore be continuing to raise this with the Government, to support all leaseholders in this stressful position who risk facing enormous costs through no fault of their own.
If constituents would like to discuss this or any other issue with me further, please do not hesitate to get in touch at any time.
On the Opposition Day debate on the topic:
I am very disappointed that Labour called this debate.
An Opposition Day motion does not lead to any change, even if it passes. The purpose is simply to score political points against the Government without resulting in any changes to policy or legislation.
I worry this will only raise the hopes of leaseholders in this awful situation, without leading to any solutions to the issues they face.
I am proud to be supporting the McPartland-Smith amendment and will vote for it when it is debated in the house. If it is passed, it will mean real change and support for leaseholders, unlike today’s Opposition Day debate.
I cannot support Labour’s motion, as it will not lead to change and will only cause more disappointment and frustration to leaseholders.
I will however do everything I can to support the McPartland Smith amendment to the Fire Safety Bill, which will lead to really positive change if passed.