/ Money

How has the cladding scandal affected your life?

Bills up to and exceeding £100,000 are landing on leaseholders’ doorsteps. As the UK’s cladding scandal continues to escalate, we want to hear from you.

Which? is today launching a public survey of leaseholders caught up in the UK’s ongoing cladding and building safety crisis as unaffordable bills continue to pile up.

Our survey focuses on the financial burden being placed on leaseholders as a result of the five areas of significant harm we’ve already identified.

To complete the survey you’ll need to have your latest service charge bill to hand, which should include the percentage of costs you’re individually liable for. You’ll also need to know details about:

🔹 The EWS1 (external wall survey) form (if known/applicable)

🔹 Waking watch costs (if known/applicable)

🔹 Buildings insurance costs (if known/applicable)

🔹 Fire alarm installation costs (if known/applicable)

🔹Remediation costs (if known/applicable)

 

For anything you’re unsure of or cannot access data for, please answer ‘don’t know’.

It’s vital that as many individual affected leaseholders as possible fill out our survey in order to help demonstrate the full scale of the crisis.

You can read our privacy policy here.

The cladding crisis so far

When we published an article on Which? Conversation last year asking leaseholders and prospective buyers if they’d experienced mortgage issues with the newly implemented EWS1 process (a survey carried out to assess the fire safety/compliance of a building’s external wall systems), hundreds of people shared their stories of frustration and turmoil.

Guest contributors to Which? Conversation told us how they were being asked to pay life-changing sums of money for interim safety measures, such as 24/7 fire wardens, before even arriving at the final bill to remediate unsafe cladding and other defects.

Which? Money podcast: uncovering the UK’s cladding scandal

Many are being forced to explore bankruptcy, for others it’s already too late:

From waking watch costs to sky-rocketing buildings insurance, these problems are not going away. It’s clear that the situation has had a devastating financial and emotional impact on flat owners across the country, with many facing astronomical bills.

So bad have things got, that the Bank of England is assessing whether the situation could cause a new financial crisis.

Our survey, combined with our ongoing research, will help us understand not only the scale of the problem, but the toll taken on leaseholders’ financial and mental health, and the wider threats to the UK’s property market.

If you’ve been a victim of the scandal, please fill out our survey, and tell us about your experiences so far in the comments below.

Photo credit: Norfolk House residents.

Comments

Are Which?, through their contacts in parliament, discussing this and proposing ways in which the problem can be resolved?

Patrick ( @dieseltaylor) has, for a long time, complained about the plight of leaseholders in ordinary accommodation, particularly their escalating charges. He criticised Which? for not investigating that problem. Why did they not pursue that, but are pursuing this one?

@gmartin, thanks George. The question really was not reporting the issues but what action was being taken to help address them. Or is that a step beyond Which?’s perceived remit?

In the cladding case, while I applaud the gathering of information, what matters more is finding a solution. Is it the case that Which? just pass this information on in the expectation that others will take action?

I suppose I would like to clarify what Which? sees as its role. We have suggested that Trading Standards needs reinstating, that Currys be pursued, that access to cash is improved, that domestic electrical products are made safer, that a product recall system be instituted, and other issues where constructive remedies are put forward and where I hope Which? does not simply report situations but actively pursues remedies. Am I expecting more than Which? are willing to offer because, if so, I will bear that in mind when I comment.

Colin Speller says:
4 May 2021

What is the closing date of this survey? We have only just received our EWS1 report (B2 rating) but we don’t have any information with regard to remedial costs as yet. We can complete it now but we will be able to provide better information in a week or two’s time.

Two weeks isn’t long enough. Service charge invoices arrive once per year, and many people won’t be notified of these costs until July for example.

Casey says:
4 May 2021

Have you see this?
https://claddingscandalmap.co.uk/

Might be worth collaborating to gather information in one place!

Leaseholders are evidently a soft target for the government. As leaseholders they should not be held responsible for the construction of defective building work.
In practice responsibility for compliance with the Building Regulations lies entirely with designers, builders, manufacturers, and Building Control. Making leaseholders liable for remedial works seems to deny that these professionals have any input or responsibility at all.
If a leaseholder does not take on any of these professional roles it is hard to see how he or she can be made liable for remedial work.
Leasehold is a form of tenure. Is there such a huge difference between leaseholders and tenants?
How long will it be before the former residents of Grenfell get asked to pay for rebuilding the tower?
The Fire safety Bill is up there with Windrush and the Post Office scandal.

simon gwynn says:
7 May 2021

The Grenfell fire tenants won’t have to pay unless they bought their properties under the right to buy scheme as most will be council tenants so the local authority will have to pay through an increase in council tax bills i expect.

Phil says:
7 May 2021

Grenfell Tower will be demolished but work can’t start until the enquiry is finished.

The cost of replacing Grenfell Tower should not fall on the council taxpayers. It will be funded either from the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council’s housing revenue account [the rents paid by all the council tenants across the authority] or from insurance receipts [if eligible]. If there were any private leaseholders with flats in the block they will effectively be bought out with compensation to be negotiated by reference to the value of their property at the time.

simon gwynn says:
5 May 2021

As a potential buyer as looking to downsize I had no idea until saw headlines on news and pulled out of sale. There is no database to say which buildings will need work so impossible to know if a building will meet the new fire safety bill and if not how much the leaseholder will have to pay.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Phil says:
8 May 2021

Absolutely correct. They’re the ones who should be made to pay and I’d like to think those individuals responsible will go to jail. Unlikely though.

EDDY OJAK says:
15 May 2021

It’s not just leaseholders that are affected by this – lots of freeholders (in Scotland) are facing similar issues.