The Housing and Regeneration Minister in Wales, Rebecca Evans AM has responded to a letter from the RLA which outlined a proposal for the Welsh Government to put forward a loan fund to replace defective cladding.
In the proposals, the RLA raised concerns about the length of time it could take for defective cladding to be replaced on private blocks of flats in Wales-those that are owned or rented from private landlords.
It is hoped that if the Welsh Government provides a loan fund to remove and replace the defective cladding, then tenants will be able to have the peace of mind sooner that the building which they call home-is safe.
Response from the Minister
In a letter responding to this proposal Rebecca Evans AM said:
“The Welsh Government is firmly of a view that we do not wish to see the cost of remediation
work to remove non-compliant ACM passed on to leaseholders or residents and I have
written to relevant developers and managing agents seeking meetings with them to
understand their thinking regarding meeting the costs of such work.”
There is cross party support for measures to be introduced to help the private rented sector, with both David Melding AM and Bethan Sayed AM having previously highlighted the RLA’s cladding proposal in a debate on the issue.
Liability for replacing defective cladding is currently unclear, although it is expected to be very expensive.
Due to the complex litigation process involved in establishing liability and the cost involved, the RLA is concerned that replacing defective cladding on buildings will take a very long time.
The RLA is concerned that until defective cladding on high rise blocks is replaced, tenants in such blocks will not have the peace of mind that they are living in a safe building.
Some measures have been put in places in buildings where the cladding has failed safety tests in order to reduce the risks (of a fire), including night time patrols and additional fire alarms.
However the RLA argue that while the defective cladding is still waiting to be removed from buildings, there will be the added cost of having to have these wardens patrols these blocks, until the cladding is removed.
As such, the proposals being put forward by the RLA to the Welsh Government seek the approval of the Minister to review a grant of funding to be made available to loan, at 0% interest, so that work can begin on removing and replacing defective cladding as soon as possible on these buildings.
The RLA is seeking for the pool of funds to be made available through Financial Transaction Capital to loan in order to replace and remove the cladding and/or any other fire safety defects for private sector properties.
The RLA is proposed to the Minister that the funding is made available for 2 – 3 years with suggested repayment plans of between 15 – 20 years to be arranged and discussed between Welsh Government and the bodies that request the funding.
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