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.
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.
Many are being forced to explore bankruptcy, for others it’s already too late:
"I didn't build the building. I didn't choose any cladding. And now I'm going to be skint forever"— BBC Business (@BBCBusiness) January 28, 2021
Hayley, 28, bought her first home in 2019 but was made bankrupt after having to pay to make her building safe from claddinghttps://t.co/RolsOA3q55 pic.twitter.com/LAXUapmvTb
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.