Brokenshire tells firms they must remove unsafe cladding or face action

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Landlords across the UK have been urged by the Government to remove unsafe cladding from their buildings or face enforcement action

Communities secretary, James Brokenshire, has written to around 60 building owners and developers, including some of the UK’s biggest property firms, explaining the actions they must take to avoid penalties.

Companies contacted by Brokenshire include Lendlease, Pemberstone, Paddington Corporation and GLA Land & Property, according to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

Businesses could be fined or even barred from accessing other government schemes if they do not obey.

The intervention follows revelations that a large number of homeowners were being asked to pay bills that could total thousands of pounds to remove unsafe cladding after building owners refused to fund the work.

Leaseholders face being stuck in unsafe and unsellable homes after struggling with complicated webs of firms involved in the construction, ownership and insurance of their homes, with many denying responsibility for funding cladding replacements.

The government has already committed to funding £400m to replace cladding on social housing blocks, and Brokenshire said: “There is a moral imperative for private sector landlords to do the right thing and remove unsafe cladding quickly, and not leave leaseholders to cover the cost.”

Fire safety experts have been advising building owners on the interim safety measures they should put in place until the unsafe cladding is replaced.

A handful of building owners and developers have already agreed to cover all the costs of the work, including Barratt Developments, Mace Group, Legal & General and Taylor Wimpey.

Brokenshire urged other firms to follow their example and warned those “who are not acting quickly enough” to remove unsafe cladding that they could face council enforcement action.

As of August, some 293 private sector residential buildings had been found to have ACM cladding systems unlikely to meet current building regulations guidance. The MHCLG had not been informed of action plans for 200 of the buildings.

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