City Hall

Sadiq Khan is set to call on the government to “urgently” review construction safety laws to provide more financial protection for tenants and leaseholders after the Grenfell tragedy.

It follows a motion that was unanimously passed in the London Assembly last week that called for tenants and leaseholders “in buildings of all sizes” to be protected from the costs of fixing fire safety defects such as the removal of dangerous cladding.

The motion was proposed by Labour’s Anne Clarke, who was elected to represent Barnet and Camden in the Assembly in May’s elections.

Clarke said: “It shouldn’t be up to leaseholders to fix the cladding scandal or to foot the bill for it by having to cover the costs of soaring insurance premiums and waking watches.

“We also shouldn’t be seeing the responsibility for handling this crisis being laid at the feet of the London Fire Brigade. And yet in the face of funding cuts, our already overstretched firefighters are having to deal with the pressures of carrying out thousands of additional hours of fire safety inspections each month.

“We need to see an urgent amendment made to the Building Safety Bill to take away the financial burden being faced by leaseholders, alongside giving our firefighters the resources, they need to deal with the crisis at hand.”

The Mayor of London will now write to Housing Minister Robert Jenrick to call for tenants and leaseholders to be exempted from covering the cost of remedial works, as well as mitigations such as waking watches and common fire alarm systems.

Currently, the Government’s £5 billion building safety fund only covers the cost of carrying out remediation work on buildings above 18 metres in height.

But during the previous mayoral term, the London Assembly’s fire, resilience and emergency planning committee found that fire safety defects were “widespread” in buildings below 18 metres in height, meaning thousands of Londoners were left bearing the cost of making them safe.

Earlier this month, hundreds of protestors in London joined demonstrators across the country in calling for developers to cover the cost of repairing fire safety defects following a fire at the New Providence Wharf development in East London that a report found had “serious safety failings”.

The Citizen reported in April on a group of Homerton residents who say the cladding scandal is taking away their choice to grow their families, and other local leaseholders have previously warned of the “harrowing impact” on their mental health.

Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville accused the government in February of “spectacularly failing” to address the crisis.

Support us

The coronavirus outbreak meant that the Hackney Citizen was unable to print a monthly newspaper for three months.

We're grateful that we have since been able to resume printing. This would not have been possible without the generosity of our readers, whose donations kept the paper from disappearing completely at a distressing time for residents.

A huge thank you to everyone who gave their time and money to support us through the lockdown, and to those who continue to do so as we slowly recover from the dramatic fall in advertising revenues, on top of the existing challenges threatening the future of local journalism.

A one-off donation or a regular contribution from anyone who can afford it will help our small team keep the newspaper in print and the website running in the coming months and years.

Find out how you can donate.

Thank you for your support, and stay safe.

The Hackney Citizen team