A leading property agency has welcomed new government plans that mean flat owners will not have to pay to remove dangerous cladding from lower-height buildings.
But Metro PM, a residential property management company with national coverage, said the estimated £4 billion costs may well have to be funded by the Treasury as it was unclear how alternative plans to make developers pay could work.
The controversy arose after the Grenfell fire, which killed 72 people in 2017 when flammable cladding and other fire safety defects were discovered in hundreds of blocks of flats across the UK.
The government had already promised to pay to remove cladding in taller buildings, and Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, has now indicated that leaseholders in buildings between 11 and 18.5 metres will no longer be expected to pay.
Instead, Mr Gove has indicated that if developers choose not to pay for cladding removals voluntarily the government could threaten them with legal compulsion.
Ian Smallman, a director at MetroPM, which has offices in Birmingham and Cheltenham, said: “We welcome what now appears to be the agreed principle that no leaseholders will be burdened with the cost of remediation.
“But someone somewhere will have to pay and the devil will be in the detail of the government’s plans to chase developers for these costs.
“It will be interesting to see how they are going to pursue this issue legally given that developers were only ever acting to fulfil building regulations that were in place at the time.
“The important thing is that the works should be starting now to ensure that everyone is safe, and that means the Treasury should arguably foot the bill at this stage as no one knows how long the alternative legal process will take, or whether it could ever work.”
Established in 2006, MetroPM provides day-to-day estate management services to a growing number of developers, freeholders and resident management companies in the Midlands and South West.