Families charged to remove Grenfell-style cladding as building firms profit
More than 400 families face ruin to remove Grenfell-style cladding – as the boss of the firm which built their homes pockets millions.
It could cost them £13million – more than £31,000 each – to pay for repairs.
Meanwhile, homebuilders Barratts posted profits of £1.6billon in the past two years and chief executive David Thomas has taken home £7.6million in pay and perks since 2017.
The 418 families at Royal Artillery Quays in Woolwich, South East London, fear bankruptcy if forced to pay – while living in unsaleable and potentially deadly apartments.
Barratt Developments, which built the tower complex in 2003, says the building met regulations at the time of construction and it has no obligation to pay.
The Government launched a first-come, first-served scheme to pay for the removal of dangerous material discovered in the wake of the 2017 Grenfell blaze which killed 72 in West London.
But the £1billion Building Safety Fund has been vastly oversubscribed – leaving leaseholders in the firing line for repairs.
IT worker Steve Day, 40, bought his flat for £320,000 in 2016.
Last month he received a section 20 notice – first step in being charged for the work.
He said: “We have single mothers, pensioners, people on low incomes living here – it’s a terrible situation. People are scared they are in a deadly flat and scared they are going to be made to pay for repairs.
“We are surrounded by unsafe cladding. There is a real terror that we could have another Grenfell on our hands. Barratt shouldn’t be building new homes until they fix the ones they’ve built.”
Around 300,000 people live in buildings with major fire safety issues.
The Building Safety Fund will only cover about 600 complexes – but more than 2,750 have registered.
The House of Lords last week voted through an amendment to the Fire Safety Bill that could protect residents from expensive repair bills.
Barratt used EPS insulation, produced by a subsidiary of the company which fitted the Grenfell cladding.
A spokesman for Barratt Developments, which has seen a 24 per cent hike in sales since July, said: “We are sorry to hear of the difficulties facing leaseholders at Royal Artillery Quays.
“The cladding met requirements at the time of construction and was signed off by an independent inspector.
“We appreciate potential costs are significant, this is an industry-wide issue affecting thousands of leaseholders across the UK. We sincerely hope the leaseholders’ application to the Building Safety Fund is successful.”