A committee of MPs have admitted that it’s unfair to expect buy-to-let landlords to pay for the replacement of dangerous cladding.
The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee, which is made up of backbench MPs, published: “Buy-to-let landlords are no more to blame than other leaseholders for historic building safety defects and landing them with potentially unaffordable bills will only slow down or prevent works to make buildings safe.”
The government plans to make it so buy-to-let landlords who rent out more than one leasehold property should have to pay something towards the removal of unsafe cladding following the Grenfell tragedy.
The Committee noted that it had heard from landlords “who find themselves outside of the scope of the protections, who invested in properties to support their children, to provide income after being made redundant, to help pay for the costs of caring for relatives, or to provide for their retirement”. All these landlords, it said, are “now facing bills they cannot afford.”
This is supported by a case study of one landlord who had used compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority to invest in flats after the murder of their husband in the 7/7 atrocity. They told the Committee that they now face “vast bills”.
The NRLA previously provided evidence, saying it’s unfair to expect landlords to pay for an issue they didn’t cause.
Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said: “We are delighted that the Committee agrees with us. The government’s decision to exclude buy-to-let landlords renting more than one property from its scheme is unfair and unacceptable.
“As the Committee rightly notes landlords are no more to blame than other leaseholders for historic building safety defects. “Ministers now need to stop dragging their feet on this issue, accept the Committee’s conclusions and end its unjust and inexcusable policy.”
Housing Secretary Michael Gove has previously said he doesn’t want to support landlords with more than one investment property, justifying it by saying the government doesn’t want to subsidise the wealthy.
There are further concerns that making landlord leaseholders pay for the removal of flammable cladding could slow down the process.