Michael Gove U-turns on cladding safety manager rule

Housing secretary Michael Gove will scrap a rule forcing safety managers to be employed in apartment blocks with more than seven storeys, The Times reports.

Cladding campaign groups have opposed the plan, which would have cost around £60,000 per building per year according to government impact assessments.

Lord Greenhalgh previously raised concerns that the policy could impose unnecessary costs on leaseholders.

This requirement in the Building Safety Bill is being reviewed, while references to this policy have already been deleted from government websites according to campaigners.

Liam Spender of the End Our Cladding Scandal campaign group told The Telegraph: “If a building is safe, building safety managers will just walk around making work for themselves.

“This job is already covered in the responsibilities of managing agents. If the plans stay as they are, it will be a death knell to resident-managed buildings.”

This development comes after Lord Naseby tabled an amendment to the Building Safety Bill in the House of Lords which would have made it so landlord leaseholders would be protected from having to pay for the removal of unsafe cladding.

Controversially only landlords with one rental property will be protected as the bill stands.

Naseby’s amendment was rejected by the government, though Greenhalgh indicated that the government is discussing how to treat landlords fairly.

Greenhalgh acknowledged the “Very real examples of leaseholders with narrow, not broad, shoulders who may have a certain amount of property in their retirement portfolio and have chosen to invest in property as a way of guaranteeing their income in old age… sometimes, there are landlords with pretty narrow shoulders, and I do not think it is the intention of the Secretary of State and the Government to be unduly unfair on those people.”

Michael Gove is currently waiting on housebuilders to see if they can come up with a funding solution to the UK’s cladding crisis, before deciding whether to force them to take action using legislation in parliament.

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