Dozens of residents at an apartment block in Salford have been told they each face a £100,000 bill to remove flammable cladding and make a series of other fire safety improvements.
Flat owners at Transport House in Salford had already been concerned that they could face costs as high as £30,000 for fire safety measures, but they were recently sent an email telling them they each faced a bill for £97,000 to replace the combustible expanded polystyrene (EPS) cladding and install cavity barriers.
With other measures included, their bill could reach six figures – and in some cases, these sky-high costs exceed the entire value of their homes.
Residents in the apartment block say their situation is one of several cases that exposes serious inadequacies in the government scheme designed to protect leaseholders from serious fire safety costs after the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the Guardian reports.
The £5 billion government grant scheme referenced has been designed to help fund work needed to make buildings safe.
Addressing the situation, a spokesperson for the Ministry for Housing said: “Building owners are responsible for making their buildings safe, including the owners of Transport House, and we expect them to take swift action to identify and fix defects, including where work has been sub-standard, without passing costs on to leaseholders.”
While government ministers have said that a loan scheme could mean residents will not pay more than £50 extra a month for recladding, many have not yet been given details.
It’s now not just the financial impact, it’s also affecting the residents’ mental health.
Resident Matthew Harris said he would be “destroyed” by the costs handed to him – which amount to more than he paid for his Salford flat less than a decade ago.
He told ITV Granada: “I’m exhausted. I’ve not slept properly since we’ve had the news. I’m constantly trying to find ways to make the situation better, trying to learn more about the situation – it’s become almost like a second job.”
“I definitely do not have £100,000 to pay for someone else’s mistakes,” he added.
Claire Griffiths – Executive Director of Growth, Development and Assets at affordable homes and services provider, Irwell Valley Homes – conceded it was an “impossible situation” for those affected.
“We know this is an impossible situation for the homeowners affected and remain committed to supporting them and working together to try to find a solution,” she said.
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