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Backlash against Gove’s cladding cost exclusion for landlords

Government plans to end the unsafe cladding scandal are based on lazy and false assumptions that individual landlords are property tycoons.

So says the National Residential Landlords Association following comments made by the Housing Secretary, Michael Gove, to the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee.

Gove told the committee those private landlords who rent out more than one leasehold property will not be covered by the Government’s commitment that no leaseholder should pay to replace dangerous cladding.

He did not want to support those who already had ‘significant means’ to pay for this themselves, he said.

This means that while multi-millionaires owning and living in single luxury penthouses will be covered by the Government’s plans, landlords relying on rents from more than one property for their pension income will not, said NRLA.

Yet, ‘according to the Government’s own data, 94 per cent of private landlords rent property as an individual, with 44 per cent becoming a landlord to contribute to their pension’.

Michael Gove’s previous comments about ending the scandal of leaseholders paying to remove dangerous cladding now ring hollow, commented NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle.

‘This is not about who does and does not have the means to pay. It is about fairness. No leaseholder, irrespective of how many properties they own, should be expected to foot the bill for dangerous and illegal cladding installed by someone else.

‘The Government needs to wake up to an injustice of its own making and make amends now’.

There is hope that such a change of thinking may be forced upon it. Conservative Peer, Lord Naseby has tabled an amendment to the Building Safety Bill to ensure that all leaseholders are treated equally, irrespective of how many properties they own.

In addition, a parliamentary motion tabled by the Conservative MP, Sir Peter Bottomley has called for buy-to-let landlords and owner-occupier leaseholders to be treated the equally.

‘We warmly welcome Lord Naseby’s amendment and call on peers to support his proposal’, said Beadle.

‘It makes no sense for the Government to treat landlord leaseholders so differently to owner-occupiers. Both groups have faced the same problems at the hands of developers, and therefore both should be treated equally. This amendment would go a long way to rectifying this unfairness’.