Welcome to our FAQ page

This page is regularly updated as and when more information is released and announcements are made by The Government

This question is at the forefront of the minds of most lessees, many of whom are facing extreme financial hardship through no fault of their own.

Leaseholders have bought homes on the basis that they have been built using suitable materials and methods however the terms of most leases will push the costs of repairs, maintenance and in some cases improvements onto the Leaseholder.

If the building is less than a year old, there may be recourse through the Developer.  you should contact us to discuss this further.

If the building is less than 10 years old, a claim through your building warranty policy may be possible, dependent on a number of factors, and you should call us as soon as possible to discuss this further.

If the building is older than 10 years then any building warranty will probably have expired.

The company providing the on-going Buildings Insurance will more than likely refuse a claim on the basis that works one of the insured perils.

In addition the original developer / contractor may have gone into liquidation or no longer be trading.

This puts the Leaseholders in a very difficult position.

If your building is over 18m and has ACM type cladding, we may still be able to help even though the application process for Government Funding officially closed on 31st December 2019.

You should call us to as soon as possible to discuss this further.

If your building is over 18m and has another type of combustible cladding system, you need to have  submitted a registration of interest by 31st July 2020.

If you haven’t done this and your building has combustible material contact us to discuss.

If your building has ACM Cladding, or another type of Combustible Material and is between 4 and 6 stories in height, your building may qualify for the recently announced long term loan that was announced on 10th February 2021.  Please contact us to discuss this further.

In late 2018, the government issued Advice Note 14 (AN14) relating to buildings over 18 meters high.  Whilst this guidance had no statutory impact and was not intended to be used by lenders and valuers, the property sector took a different view, and in many cases properties affected by AN14 are currently valued at zero

This doesn’t mean your flat is worth nothing.  It means that for mortgage purposes the valuer is not prepared to offer a valuation.  This makes it extremely difficult for a person needing a mortgage to purchase your flat and makes it almost impossible for you to re-mortgage.

In an effort to break the deadlock, the RICS issued an updated Guidance Note in conjunction with UK Finance.  The Guidance Note aims to narrow the circumstance under which an EWS1 Form should be requested.

It is more than likely that your building was built in accordance with building regulations applicable at the time.  These regulations permitted the use of a range of materials, which have subsequently been reviewed after the Grenfell Tower tragedy in June 2017.

The tragedy highlighted deficiencies in existing building regulations, and so the government came under pressure to improve fire safety in residential high-rise buildings.

Whereas Grenfell involved ACM cladding only to the exterior of the building that was combustible, it has now been determined that many buildings have elements of their external wall system that are combustible despite having different cladding types to that found on the Grenfell building.

The Fire Safety Bill has now become Law; it’s main purpose is to clarify sections of the existing Fire Safety Regulatory Reform Order 2005.

The Fire Safety Bill is completely separate to the Building Safety Bill which is a much larger and brand new piece of legislation being discussed in Parliament.

Depending on the rating of the building, things can become difficult.  A B2 rating on an EWS1 form for example, will usually mean a sale is impossible as lenders do not usually lend on flats contained within buildings with this rating.

It is well worth reviewing the RICS Guidance Note for Valuers to see if the request for an EWS1 is appropriate for your building.  Whilst the majority of lenders are working in accordance with this guidance; not all are.

Depending on the rating of the building things can become difficult.  A B2 rating on the EWS1 for example, will usually mean a move to another lender is impossible.  Your existing lender may be open to negotiations.

We are aware that Santander issue a questionnaire consisting of 4 yes / no questions.

We are aware of other lenders accepting an anticipated schedule of remediation works as evidence that there is a plan to remove unsafe cladding.

 

The EWS1 Form currently has 5 outcomes;

A1 – no remediation required. This is the highest rating you can have

A2 – There is some combustible material on attachments (balconies) but no remediation is required

A3 – Remediation of the attachment is required as there is a risk of fire spreading form the attachment to other areas

B1 – There is combustible material in the external wall system but there are other mitigating factors that mean remediation is not required.

B2 – there is combustible material in the external walls system and remediation is required.

In July 2019, the government set up a Building Safety Fund to remediate buildings with ACM cladding.  The deadline for applications to this fund was December 2019.  Please contact us if your buildings is over 18m and has ACM Cladding.

In March 2020, the government announced a separate £1bn fund to finance the remediation of unsafe non-ACM cladding systems on residential buildings.  A further £3.5bn has since been announced.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is the decision-making body for the BSF and is working with the Greater London Authority (GLA), who will draw on specialist legal and cost consultancy support to assess the BSF applications in London.

Interest in the fund needed to be registered by 31st July 2020.

The Government announced on the 17th December 2020 that the deadlines for completing an application to the fund were being extended by 6 months. Applications now need to be submitted by 30th June 2021, and  works on site need to be started by 30th September 2021.

If your building is 18m or more with combustible materials but you have not submitted a  registration of interest within the deadline of  31st July 2020 you may be able to claim exceptional circumstances.

There is not guarantee that your application will be accepted but call us as soon as possible to discuss the position and see if we can help

The fund covers reasonable capital costs for eligible works that are necessary to remove unsafe non-ACM cladding systems on high-rise residential buildings including:

  • access directly related to qualifying works (e.g. scaffolding, mast climber etc.),
  • removal and disposal of existing non-ACM cladding,
  • replacement materials,
  • labour and reasonable on-costs to the contractor,
  • professional teams fees in respect of qualifying items,
  • managing agents’ fees in respect of administering qualifying expenditure, and
  • extraordinary technical requirements which incur extra costs essential to but not normally associated with removing and replacing unsafe cladding systems may be included. MHCLG will consider such requests for funding against relevant evidence.

This government fund does not cover buildings under 18 meters, though a 30cm tolerance is given.

The Government clearly did not anticipate the scale of the issue across the UK, so their original deadlines have been extended to cope with the demand on the fund.

Registration of Interest had to be made by 31st July 2020 and by that date 2,820 buildings had shown interest.

It has taken between 6 and 12 months to be granted access to the portal on most of our projects, though one project still has not been granted portal access.  There are still approximately 1,890 applications being reviewed (as at April 2021)

We worked in the background to collate all necessary documents and have all necessary answers covered, so when we were finally given access to the portal it was only a matter of uploading what we had to the portal.

Once the application is submitted it is likely to take approximately 3- 4 months before a definitive funding decision is made and cash is made available. This timescale depends on a number of variables specific to each building and is only a guide and is not definitive

Keeping lessees updated throughout the whole process is very important. We have found the best way to do this is via video or audio conference on a regular basis. Lessees have the opportunity to raise issues and concerns. We record the meetings and type up and circulate minutes so there is a permanent record. We also send out regular emails to lessees advising them of events such as surveys being undertaken or when specific milestones have been met.

We aim to exceed detailed guidelines from MHCLG on what information should be shared with leaseholders, and how regularly, during the whole process.

At the beginning of February 2021 the Government announced that they would protect leaseholders in buildings over 18 meters from having to bear any costs of remediation. they announced an extension to the Non-ACM fund of £3.5bn

There are estimated to be 1700 high rise (over 18m) or high-risk properties in the country.

There are also estimated to be a further 11,300 properties with deficient cladding below 18m.

The Government has clearly acknowledged that their original £1bn is not enough having confirmed a further £3.5bn to be released and have also said that they are making  further funding available for buildings between 4 and 6 stories in height by way of a long term loan. Details on this are yet to be released.

Given the scale of the issue £5bn is unlikely to be enough to rectify all eligible buildings.

Demand for materials, surveyors and contractors have also increased significantly, and costs are rising quickly in accordance with the increasing demand.

The government have stated that they would like leaseholders to be protected from paying for the remediation works and that building owners developers and freeholders should fix the problems or use warranties in place.

The proposed Long Term Loan Scheme contradicts this stance.  An increasing number of ministers are applying pressure to the Government to fully fund all remediation costs on buildings of all heights; then recoup costs from the construction industry by way of additional levies.  This was most recently raised by Sir Bottomley on Newsnight

There may be some things you can do.

Firstly you should process your application for remediation as soon as possible. If you are going to be able to undertake work  then costs will only rise the longer time goes on.

If your building has a waking watch in place, and does not yet have a fire alarm system you should urgently look at having an alarm system installed.  This will reduce the number of personnel required on site and the Government has committed £30m across the UK to pay for the installation of fire alarms.

You can apply to access this funding if your building is in the process of installing a fire alarm system, or installed a fire alarm system after 31st December 2020

The Waking Watch Relief Fund was reopened to applicants at the beginning of June 2021 and is set to close again on 24th June 2021.

If your building qualifies for remediation and a registration of interest was submitted before 31st July 2020 we will guide you through the maze of bureaucracy gathering all the documents and reports required to submit an application for remediation.

There are still 700 buildings that have submitted a registration of interest but have not taken an application forward.  If your building is one of them there is no time to lose.  Contact us today and we will be happy to guide you on the next steps.

If your building is below 18m but between    4 – 6 stories you may qualify for the new loan scheme. Details are yet to be released but there is a lot of work that needs to be undertaken in advance. Contact us and we will help you through that process so you are ready to make the application as soon as possible.

There are 2 private sector funds available for providing remediation to qualifying buildings.

ACM Fund £1.6bn

The first is the ACM fund. This was increased from £1bn to £1.6bn last year.

To qualify buildings must be over 18m and have ACM cladding.  Unlike the Building Safety Fund, there is no tolerance on this height requirement.

Non-ACM Fund was £1bn and has just been increased.

The other fund is the Non-ACM fund was £1bn and to qualify buildings must be a minimum of 18m, with a 30cm tolerance, and have Non-ACM combustible cladding.

£3.5bn of Further Funding has been announced in February 2021

Funding for Buildings between 4 and 6 stories has been announced in February 2021

ACM Fund

The ACM fund closed to new applications in December 2019.

If however you have ACM cladding, your building is over 18m and you have not sought remediation but want to, then contact us as quickly as possible. It is possible that applications may be considered even at this late stage but there is a lot of information required and so there is urgency in making the application.

Non-ACM Fund

To qualify for the Non-ACM fund a registration of interest needed to be submitted by 31st July 2020. The deadline for submission of the application for remediation is 30th June 2021.

At present this fund is available on a first come first served basis.

The deadlines for applicants have been recently relaxed

If you have submitted your registration of interest but haven’t taken your application further, or haven’t received a response from the BSF Team, we are here to help. There is no time to lose however so contact us now.

If you have a cladding issue and need help in progressing matters to conclusion, there is no time to lose.
Call us on 0204 506 2955 or click here to send us a message.