Homeowners in properties with cladding say they are “trapped” under new legislation

Residents with Grenfell-style cladding still attached to their building say they feel “trapped” as they are unable to sell their properties.

Recent legislation has made many properties impossible to sell across South London if they are in a building with cladding, or other combustible materials, as lenders are not offering mortgages for properties that do not have the necessary safety certificate.

Leaseholders who bought their properties through housing associations are now stuck and cannot sell their properties until the associations arrange for the cladding to be removed.

Anna Bruder, who is 15 weeks’ pregnant and lives in Laurell Apartments in Elephant and Castle, which is managed by London and Quadrant Housing, says they have sunk all of their life savings into their apartment which is now worthless.

“It’s incredibly stressful because we need to move soon as we are having a baby but we are stuck,” said Anna. “Three flats in this building have tried to sell this year but none have gone through. Now no one is selling. We have no power or control over anything.

“L and Q Housing have been so slow to respond. We’re also concerned about the safety of the building. What happens if there is a fire? We’re on the fifth floor if it caught fire we’d be screwed. Naturally we’re worried.

“We’ve put all of our money into a massive scam. It’s so awful not knowing when it will get sorted.

Legislation earlier this year made it compulsory for buildings over 18 meters high to qualify for an EWS1 certificate that ensures the building is safe, which includes safe construction of potentially combustible materials.

Residents are also concerned that the cost of any changes to the building will fall back on them.

Anna added: “The government restrictions have cocked everything up. No one can buy or sell and we don’t know who is liable to pay for the changes. 

A London and Quadrant Housing spokeswoman said: “We realise the life-changing impact that this is having on many of our leaseholders and are sorry for any stress that this situation, which is affecting thousands of homeowners nationally, is causing. 

“We’re doing everything we can to make sure our buildings meet the new safety guidelines set out by Government and our residents are safe while any necessary works are carried out. 

“We are also working with other bodies in the housing sector to call on government to further increase capacity for inspections and remedial works, and to consider how it can further support people to move home safety and confidently.

“Unfortunately, as we own so many buildings affected by the new guidance, we’re not able to inspect, test, and then carry out works on them all at once. Instead we must prioritise our buildings based on risk. Our highest risk buildings, defined by height, occupancy and building materials, among other factors, will be inspected first.”

Pictured: Anna Bruder, right, with partner


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