Housing : Social Tenants / BTL & HB Problems / Shortages / Grenfell Tower Fallout

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
292 posts
Ground zero ... Grenfell Tower ... the aftermath ... rolling Guardian coverage of the inquiry.

If anyone else is following the daily reports , do they get the same impression that low hundreds should be in the dock whereas ... at the conclusion ... a mere handfull of " Middle " rankers will face serious charges in a criminal court ... the rest escaping with fines and serious black marks on their cvs ?

Only time will tell ... let TRUE justice prevail ... no secret deals in any lodge ... for once !!!
Bit late ... been out twirling again ... little oases in an otherwise barren social and economic desert ???

Where was I ... oh yes ... another nasty , today's Guardian :

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... in-england

More than 1m families waiting for social housing in England.

Shelter figures show 1.15 million households on waiting lists last year with only 290,000 homes made available.

More than 1 million families are stuck on waiting lists for social housing in England as the number of council homes in Britain slumps to a record low.

Figures from the housing and homelessness charity Shelter show that a total of 1.15 million households were on waiting lists last year, with only 290,000 homes made available, leaving a national shortfall of more than 800,000 homes.

Almost two-thirds (65%) of families had been on lists for more than a year, while 27% had been waiting for more than five years.

Six London authorities were among the top 10 councils with the biggest shortfall, with areas including Brighton, Blackpool and Strood in Kent also struggling.

In Newham, east London, 25,729 households were on the waiting list last year, with only 588 social homes available. In Brighton and Hove there were 24,392 families on lists, and 949 homes available.

Shelter said the gap was caused by a lack of newbuild social homes, and many existing homes being sold off through the right-to-buy scheme and not being replaced.

Polly Neate, the charity’s chief executive, said the fact that some survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire were still homeless a year on from the disaster had “totally shaken people’s trust in the safety net the state supposedly provides”.

“Imagine, then, how frustrating life must be for the millions of people elsewhere in the country who have been stuck on waiting lists, often for years on end,” she said. “This is not just confined to London but happening right across the country, from Brighton to Blackpool. Families are unable to get settled and unable to get on with their lives.

“The Grenfell tragedy must mark a turning point in our nation’s approach to social housing and its tenants. We clearly need a bold new plan for social housing so families are not condemned to waiting lists but given safe, secure and affordable housing as quickly as possible.”

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said more than 357,000 new affordable properties had been delivered since 2010.

It said it would be investing a further £9bn in affordable homes, including £2bn to help councils and housing associations build properties for social rent, while also giving councils the power to borrow £1bn to build new properties in areas with the greatest affordability pressures.

The £2bn was promised by Theresa May last year but critics, including Tory council leaders, say this is not enough to fix Britain’s housing crisis.

Last month Roger Madelin, one of the country’s top property developers, told the Guardian the UK’s system of funding social housing was “nuts” and called for higher taxes to speed up building.

I recall applying for council housing when I got married back in 1973 ...virtually everyone marrying on my old manor did that ... some being the third generation to do so.

In 1992 , after a couple of redirects , letter from Islington Council ... did I want to stay on it ... 19 years later !

Needless to say , I was a home owner by that time , by a good few years , back in those days.

What must it REALLY be like for those now spending 60 / 70% of their income just to keep a roof above their head ... renting from a BTL landlord ... in the absence of social housing ?

Food banks ... now seeing more working people , as a percentage , than ever before.

The knock on effects of a lack of affordable homes ....
Purely as a guide ... copied across from another thread :

Council Tax ?

My Council Tax a half of BB's ... for a glorified cupboard in Worksop ... market value if sellable ... around £ 35,000 for a 99 years lease ... and then , as a leaseholder , I would be liable for 1/12 ( !2 flats ) of any communial works ... say a new roof ... under the terms of the lease.

Car park to the rear ... I overlook it ... needs replacing ... £ 4 / 5,000 job ... straight off the landlord's profits ... and I don't own a car ... yet as a leaseholder , I would still be liable.

Using that logic , BB's abode is worth £ 70,000 if CT ( Double my liability ) is based on property values ???

Perhaps if calculated on the basis of the " Ability to Pay " would be more logically ???

Tenants ?

Amount of Housing Benefit ... based on one's income ... for those who qualify ... is fixed at what's known as the LHA ( Local Authority Rate ) ... basically , what an " Average " property costs to rent on that manor.

Just applied that to my own glorified cupboard ... just about covered in full IF I qualfied for the full whack.

Fine ... except that the level of HB is chasing that LHA as rents rise ... a gap which has increased over the past 5 years.

In addition , the maximum now paid out for HB is now limited ... a mouth watering amount for most readers ?
The benefit cap is a limit on the total amount of income from certain benefits a household can receive. If you receive more than the benefit cap allows then your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit will be reduced until you are brought back within the cap.

Until 7 November 2016, if you are a couple or have children your benefit cap is £500 per week. The limit for single people with no children is £350 per week.

From 7th November 2016 the benefit cap is going to be reduced and will be set at a different level depending on whether you live inside or outside London:

£442.31 a week if you are a couple or have children and live in London
£384.62 a week if you are a couple or have children and live outside London
£296.35 a week if you are a single person and live in London
£257.69 a week if you are a single person and live outside London

When the reduced benefit cap is introduced, the benefits included when seeing if your benefit income exceeds the cap will be:

Child Benefit
Child Tax Credit
Housing Benefit
Incapacity Benefit
Income Support
Jobseeker's Allowance
Employment and Support Allowance (except when in the support group)
Maternity Allowance
Severe Disablement Allowance
Widowed Parent's Allowance & Bereavement Allowance

If you are affected by the reduction in the benefit cap your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit will be reduced. When this happens will depend on where you live as the roll out starts on 7th November but will take a number of weeks. See when it will be introduced in your area.

HB now costs the taxpayer around £ 25 BILLION per year , and rising almost out of control ... reflecting the letting market as a whole.

And , who ultimately receives HB ?

BTL landlords perhaps ... over 40% of those in the House have BTL interests ... coincidence ???

Put those two together and ... many are facing a shortfall ... even more so in BTL properties as there are NO restrictions on the landlord increasing the rent.

Some are sucked in at a slightly below average rent for the first 6 months ... standard Assured Tenancy agreement ... only to be faced with a 10 / 20 / 30% hike on expiry !!!

Either cough up or vacate !!!

Recent headline news in some papers ... " Private BTL landlords selling off their properties due to tax changes " ... what happens to the tenants when they do ???

Just step back for moment ... London ... what does even £ 500 per week actually buy you ?

Don't forget Social Housing tenancies ... Lambchop , one of us ... regretably , now immortalised by our very own Lord Kitch :

https://www.carersuk.org/forum/support- ... sion-31553
Caring days ended and residing in social housing , and not on the tenancy ?
Oh dear ... bad luck ... your local cardboard city awaits while you find yourself a job and somewhere to live.

For a carer and a caree on the basic rate of benefits and allowances ?????????????????

Add on the bedroom tax and ... especially when considering just how many are trying to downsize , and the lack of smaller properties available.

Even in Worksop , just 9 ... yes 9 ... 1 bedroom or studio flats available to rent ... in a town of 30,000 odd , with more than two thirds unemployed / retired / on zero hour contracts or the minimum wage.

Repairs ?

If one is fortunate enough to have a " Good " landlord , fine ... some of the worst out there are Housing Associations and LAs , with lists of repairs needed stretching back years ... some even classed as " Life threatening. "

Following on ... those in tower blocks ... for a real life example ???

Dovetailing into this ... COUNCIL TAX ... many are paying CT for the first time as the " Allowance " is chasing the amount needed ... a double whammy for those near to the bottom.

Anyone now surprised that those needing food banks are increasing ... at an ever exploding rate ???

I haven't mentioned the question of YIELD with BTL investors ... suffice to add that , if a 5% yield is required , and the price of property continues to rise ... and the same yield is required ... what do you think happens to the rent ???

" Short " answer but lays bare the problem at the bottom end of society.

I can almost hear a sigh of relief from those readers who are on the home owning side of this divide ????????????????
Yet more fuel to the fire that is raging through the housing Issue :

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... ght-to-buy

Councils able to replace just one-third of homes sold under right to buy.

Local Government Association calls for ‘fundamental reform’ in the way scheme is funded.

The government’s right-to-buy scheme risks running out of homes unless councils are given funding to build more, a report has warned.

Research by the Local Government Association found local authorities only have enough money to replace less than one-third of the number of homes sold over the past six years.

In addition to providing extra funding, the LGA is calling on the government to allow councils to keep all the receipts for the properties they sell, rather than having to hand over a portion to the Treasury.

According to the figures, more than 60,000 properties have been sold under the scheme since 2012, at average prices of half the market rate – leaving local authorities with enough funds to build or purchase only 14,000 replacement homes.

The LGA said two-thirds of councils in England will have no chance of replacing the same number of homes sold off under right to buy in five years’ time without “significant” restructuring of the scheme.

About 12,000 properties were sold under the scheme last year, but the study showed that by 2023, councils would only be able to replace 2,000 of them.

The LGA said local authorities’ ability to reinvest in housing was hampered by a rule that meant a significant portion of all right-to-buy receipts had to be handed over to Whitehall, rather than the communities in which the homes were sold.

Martin Tett, the LGA’s housing spokesman, said the scheme, which was first implemented under Margaret Thatcher and revived during David Cameron’s time as prime minister, was in danger without “fundamental reform” of its funding.

“We know that the right to buy changes lives – it helps people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get on the ladder experience the security and independence of home ownership. It is essential that it continues to do so,” he said.

“Councils urgently need funding to support the replacement of homes sold off under the scheme, or there’s a real chance they could be all but eliminated. Without a pipeline of new homes, future generations cannot benefit from the scheme.”

Tett said councils could deliver a “renaissance in housebuilding” if they were allowed to borrow to build new homes and keep 100% of receipts.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said the government remained committed to helping people get a foot on the housing ladder through the scheme.

“We will be consulting local authorities in the coming months on ways to increase their flexibility to replace homes sold, and will announce further details in due course,” he said.

Turn the clock back to the 1980s ... Thatcher ... The Right to Buy Scheme.

A REAL vote winner at that time ... especially if those votes were former Labour ones ???

Some readers would have benefited from that Scheme ... good fortune to them !

https://www.independent.co.uk/money/spe ... 84481.html

Other readers may have had a leaflet dropped in the letterbox ... " How we can help you buy your home " ... proprietors of which made some serious money ... I speak from first hand knowledge gained in my banking days !!!

In one road , 11 LA tenants signed up for just one such scheme alone !

Even then , the opponents were phrophetising the downsides and ... fast forwarding to 2018 ... we can all see that they were RIGHT !

Trouble is ... none of us can turn the clock back !!!
More on the knock on effects of the " Right to Buy " policy ... and the state of play in the world of BTL :


https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... -landlords

Just look at housing to see the true cost of privatisation.

Right to buy has been a success for landlords but a disaster for those most in need of a home

Council homes are being sold off far more quickly than new social homes are being built, a new report has warned.

The research into the government’s right-to-buy scheme, by the Local Government Association, finds that this has been the case since 2012: at no point has the social housebuilding rate matched, or come close to matching, the rate at which homes are being sold.

Right to buy was given a boost by the Conservatives after the 2010 election in an attempt to sell even more homes, since traditionally homeowners tend to vote Tory. In 2013, the then chancellor, George Osborne, announced the maximum discount available for those renting a council home in London would rise to £100,000. In effect he’d approved the asset-stripping of some of our most-needed council stock.

But right to buy needs to be viewed for its long-term effects, and not just with regard to how it helped those families who bought their council homes in the 1980s and 90s. Today, 40% of the homes sold under the scheme are rented privately at far higher rents than local authorities would ever charge. Right to buy has become right to buy to let.

Across the country, home ownership is in crisis, with renting exorbitantly expensive and young people especially – even those in professional jobs – being priced out of the market. Their earnings disappear into the pockets of private landlords, while the finances of local government are given a kicking.

Council housing works because it pays for itself relatively quickly: the rent paid by tenants covers the building costs in the long term, and eventually makes a profit for the local authority, which continues to invest in the local area. The money continues to circulate within the community rather than simply boosting the profits of landlords.

But with councils forced to sell to tenants through right to buy, then being obliged to give a chunk of the receipts straight to Whitehall, building becomes ever more difficult. And the property shortfall is expensive, as authorities struggle to house their homeless residents.

Last year £8.4m was spent by 23 councils to rent 725 flats as temporary accommodation, the magazine Inside Housing found. A vast transfer of wealth has taken place from the public to the private sector, under the guise of helping the aspirational working class. Instead, we’ve just made it harder to provide housing for those most in need.

The folly of right to buy echoes the mess that is Britain’s rail system. In the mid-90s, John Major – echoing Margaret Thatcher’s disdain for the state a decade earlier – believed that breaking up British Rail would create competition, and that competition would ensure greater services and be far more efficient than control by the bloated state.

Instead, the cost of train travel has become exorbitant, the service appalling almost everywhere you attempt to travel, and the state is constantly required to intervene – either because a franchise has collapsed, in the case of the east coast mainline, or because the rail service has become chaotic, witness recent weeks in the north and the south-east.

The long-term effects of privatising both rail and housing, aside from ensuring we live in a country of crumbling infrastructure (in contrast to mainland Europe), is one of diminished social and personal opportunities. Many people are unable to see friends and family as often as they’d like due to the cost of rail travel.

Others are delaying having children, or wondering if they can afford them at all, since they cannot afford to buy a home and landlords can be hostile to children. Those with children are in no better position : more than 100,000 children are living in temporary accommodation, usually due to eviction.

Right to buy was popular, but with 1.8m council homes having been sold off, there are now about 750,000 households paying far more than a local authority rent.

Housing, not buying, should be a right – and available and affordable for all. Right to buy is devastating our housing system, just as rail privatisation has devastated our transport infrastructure.

Privatisation rarely works: we need new ideas, and far more public ownership of housing, infrastructure and utilities, if we wish to provide for our citizens.

Not much more can be added to that !

Stark and ... reflects exactly what has happened.

The few profiting at the expense of the many.

The " Free Market " in all it's splendour !!!

And , it's human cost ... for all to see !!!
Busy day today ... 14th. posting , either new or an updating ... this mourning's Morning Star :

https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/art ... -evictions

Tenants fight back against evictions.

Campaigners launch national campaign to stop landlords kicking renters out without a reason.

HOUSING activists are launching a national campaign today to stop private landlords being able to evict tenants without having to give a reason.

So-called “no fault” evictions, which allow landlords to put tenants on the street with just two months notice, are the number one cause of homelessness.

Housing charity Shelter revealed last year that eviction from a private tenancy accounted for 78 per cent of the rise in homelessness since 2011, with 18,750 households becoming homeless after an eviction from a privately rented home in 2016 alone.

The proportion of households in England renting privately has doubled since 2004 and the 11 million renters have little protection from eviction once their fixed-term contract ends, unlike in Germany or Scotland, for example, where tenancies are indefinite.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says that bringing an end to “no fault” evictions will “absolutely” be part of the party’s next manifesto, saying the issue is “a moral litmus test for the country. Do we just put up with so many rough sleepers or do we do something about it?”

Activist groups including Generation Rent, the New Economics Foundation and the London Renters Union are now working together to fight unfair evictions, starting with securing abolition of section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.

Tonight’s campaign launch event in Bermondsey, south London, will hear from renters made homeless through section 21 evictions and activists from new private renters’ unions.

Generation Rent director Dan Wilson Craw said: “Renters are not just a convenient source of income. They are people who need a home.

“They should be guaranteed the right to a secure home and a stable life, free from the anxiety of being evicted for no justifiable reason.

“With half of people aged 18 to 35, one in four families and growing numbers of pensioners now renting privately, the time has come to abolish section 21 and give tenants more security, peace of mind and confidence to complain.”

He told the Star that the looming threat of potential eviction and homelessness put renters in a “precarious position” which had a knock-on effect on their lives.

“Beyond the immediate impact on people who are evicted, it’s this fact that this could happen to anyone,” he said.

“Renters feel like their home isn’t theirs. They never feel sure whether they are going to be in the same home in a year’s time.

“That really undermines any sort of sense of home. It means it feels like they can’t commit to getting involved in their community or even decorate their home because what’s the point if they don’t know whether their landlord is going kick them out?”

The campaign against unfair evictions is launched as the government prepares to open a consultation on security of tenure for private renters. Mr Wilson Craw said he hoped the campaign would “build up pressure” on the government.

But he warned of the need to deal with these issues properly and of the danger that the government “will just offer landlords a few incentives to improve their offer to tenants very mildly and that’s what we would like to avoid.”

He also said that, in the event of section 21 being abolished, “you need some limit on rent increases because, if landlords can no longer evict someone using section 21, they can just say: ‘Here’s a huge rent increase’.”

One article which will find very few enemies ?

" The Street Fights Back ! " ... about time !

Assured tenancies ( ATs ) provide temporary accomodation ... in my 7th. year here , still not considered " Home " in the sense of the word.

And yet , low millions like me are trapped ... with nowhere else to go ... apart from taking on another AT elsewhere.
Boy , how this Issue NEVER fails to be headline news ... almost on a daily basis ?

Yet more fuel for that fire which has engulfed housing :

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... ociations

Fury as housing associations redevelop and sell affordable homes.

With many Grenfell Tower survivors still displaced a year after the fire that killed 72 people, figures reveal millions being made from selloffs.

Housing associations have made at least £82.3m from auctioning homes in five London boroughs since 2013, according to figures seen by the Guardian.

Analysis by the Labour MP for Westminster North, Karen Buck, shows that Westminster, Brent, Camden, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Kensington and Chelsea sold 153 properties at auction through Savills estate agents – with more than half in Westminster where sales totalled £36.4m.

The true figures are likely to be much higher as the data only covers sales made by one agency. The auctions are part of a wider trend of some housing associations selling off social housing in expensive central London to fund new developments, which tenants say are unaffordable or far removed from their families, schools and work.

Buck says: “I’m dealing with a family who are statutorily overcrowded and in the highest medical priority and I haven’t been able to get them moved in over eight years. That’s because housing associations [in general] say they don’t have the stock in the area and yet they’re still selling off homes.”

Nationally, sales of housing association social homes to the private sector have more than tripled since 2001, with 3,891 social homes sold in 2016. Overall, more than 150,000 homes for social rent have been lost since 2012.

Bucks’ analysis shows that in Kensington and Chelsea housing associations made £5.3m from auctions in 2013 alone. Between 2013 and 2018, Brent sold £20.9m, and Hammersmith and Fulham £13.7m.

Although most auction lots do not state the housing association selling the property, Buck has identified many homes as stock of Genesis and Notting Hill Housing, which merged in April . Notting Hill Genesis manages 65,000 homes. A spokesman says before the merger, the two associations sold 497 homes between them in the past five years, using the proceeds to build more homes in less expensive areas in and outside London. Of these, 49 were auctioned last year, raising £19.7m, but the merged housing association “will limit sales to no more than 20 per year”.

The selloffs are fuelling overcrowding and homelessness, and undermining efforts to tackle the housing crisis, experts say. “They’re buying and leasing homes all over London as temporary accommodation yet housing association homes within these boroughs are being sold off,” says Steve Hilditch, former head of policy for Shelter and a housing adviser to the last Labour government.

Meanwhile, other housing associations are redeveloping their stock.

In Kensington and Chelsea, local residents and the council have warned a public inquiry that backing plans to redevelop the Sutton estate, near the King’s Road, would give housing associations across the country carte blanche to not update social housing and replace it with private homes, which risks pushing thousands of tenants into temporary accommodation or homelessness.

England’s largest housing association, Clarion Group, wants to demolish the red-brick Edwardian mansion block estate. The plans have fomented debate over the provision of social housing in Kensington and Chelsea, a year after the Grenfell fire in the north of the borough. Although there are around 200 vacant flats on the Sutton estate, many survivors are still living in temporary accommodation. Clarion has said the empty homes were not fit to be let.

Campaigners argue that if Clarion had better maintained the estate they could have provided more suitable permanent accommodation for Grenfell survivors. But Kensington and Chelsea council has also come under fire for failing to house enough people made homeless after the fire.

A spokesman for the council says it has spent £235m on securing 307 properties to help rehouse people affected by the fire. Of the 203 households requiring rehousing, 134 have a new permanent home, while 52 are in temporary and 15 in emergency accommodation.

But a report published this week by the North Kensington law centre, says many homes lay unoccupied for months due to damp, disrepair and access issues. Labour MP for Kensington and Chelsea, Emma Dent Coad, says: “We have heard they [the council] are reselling some of the properties bought in haste last summer,” she adds. “We have 30 [Grenfell] households including at least one person with disabilities, and only three homes with disabled access – and it seems these may not be of the right size.”

The planning inspectorate is due to submit a report on the Sutton estate inquiry to James Brokenshire, secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, in late August. The minister is expected to make a decision on Clarion’s appeal by the end of the year.

If the appeal is successful “it opens the floodgates to privatise social housing”. “This is a test case for social housing across the UK because if Clarion are allowed to do this, every other housing association will do the same.

" They’re a housing charity fighting to privatise charitable housing. "

Kim Taylor-Smith, deputy council leader and lead member for Grenfell and housing, agrees. “It’s my view that Clarion’s intent from day one was to make money from the Sutton estate,” he says. “But William Sutton’s motivation was to provide homes for the poor. I would hope that they remember that.”

Clarion has also last month submitted a revised regeneration scheme for the Sutton estate to the public inquiry, which the council accepts would not lead to a loss in social housing. But it has not withdrawn the original scheme and both will be assessed by the planning inspectorate. “We remain committed to the regeneration of the Sutton estate and to providing our current and future residents there with good quality homes,” says a spokeswoman. “No further decisions will be made until the outcome of the appeal is known.”

But Clarion told the public inquiry that if its appeal against the planning decision is rejected, it would rent out the empty flats privately, noting that it had already rented out three of them, or would sell off the whole estate. The housing association adds that the empty flats cannot feasibly be renovated and re-let as social housing because they do not meet the government’s minimum standards for public housing.

“They’re claiming they can’t refurbish them as social homes but they have refurbished and let three properties out privately for £1,800 [each] a month,” Henderson says. “Grenfell survivors have told us they would like to live here because they don’t want to live near the tower again.”

Oh dear , another thread springs to mind ... CHARITIES OR BUSINESSES : WHICH IS WHICH springs to mind ???

I had dealings with a major Housing Association during my banking days some 35 years ago in this specific case.

Then , they really were a charity , surplus monies being ploughed back in to create more SOCIAL housing.

Now , what are they really doing ?

Time for someone to look at the legal position ... a charity being run ... for profit ????

Comments section at the bottom ... 96 as I type ... some also cut to the very heart of the problem.

Yet another spin off from Grenfell Tower ... any of the carer army living in similar properties , as home owners or tenants , now severly blighted ?

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... risa-ahmed

'Grenfell' cladding: couple sue after flat value drops from £600,000 to £90,000

Nerisa Ahmed and her husband to sue government agency that helped them buy their home

A family who have seen the value of their London flat slashed from £600,000 to just £90,000 because of Grenfell-style cladding will sue a government agency that helped them buy their home.

They are the second homeowners in the New Capital Quay development in Greenwich to have their flat valued at rock-bottom prices.

Nerisa Ahmed and her husband bought the flat under the help to buy scheme when it was built three years ago and have had two offers fall through in the past six months because of the cladding.

In their report for Ahmed, Taylor Chartered Surveyors said the collapse in value of her flat was because the cost of replacing the cladding was unknown and that it was unclear when the cladding would be replaced due to ongoing legal discussions between developer Galliard and the insurer of the building.

The company said some flats had been valued at £0. They were unsellable, unrentable and unmortgageable.

“My flat is dangerous. I panic every night as I put my son to bed. I’m on the top floor – the 10th – and having a fire here is not something I’d like to experience,” said Ahmed.

She is now threatening to sue the government agency that helped her buy the flat claiming it reneged on an agreement to write down the majority of her £120,000 help to buy loan that paid for 20% of her home.

Earlier this year another homeowner in NCQ had her £475,000 flat valued at just £50,000 because of the cladding. However the government agency kept its promise to write off most of the money it lent the woman, also for a 20% share in her flat.

“It’s very stressful. I’m not doing this for the money,” said Ahmed.

The agency that administrates the help to buy scheme, Target HCA, agreed that she could redeem a £120,000 loan in April. The government gave her the loan in exchange for 20% equity in the flat and agreed to write off £102,000 because of the cladding valuation.

At the end of April she and her husband handed over the remaining £18,000 and expected the paperwork to follow within days of completion, but this did not happen.

After several attempts to get the documentation confirming the government no longer owned the 20% of her flat, she was told the agency had changed its mind because of the cladding and were seeking guidance from the government.

Ahmed, a lawyer, has said she will sue if it does not deliver on its contractual agreement to redeem her loan.

“To change the rules and apply them retrospectively is an abuse of power. It is like buying a house and handing over the money and then the vendor doesn’t hand over the keys,” said Ahmed.

Her plight highlights the predicament of thousands of homeowners in more than 100 private blocks around the country that still have Grenfell-style cladding, who are not getting help from the government.

“The government have done nothing about forcing private developers to remove the cladding and, instead of attacking the root of the problem, they are adding to the stress. We are people and it is not like we have any choice in this: we can’t move, we can’t rent, we can’t sell. We are trapped in a fire trap. It’s like having your freedom taken away.

New Capital Quay is believed to be the largest development in the country with Grenfell-style cladding, with almost 2,000 homes.

Galliard Homes, the developer in Greenwich, is facing a bill of between £30m and £40m to replace the cladding and has done nothing to start the remediation works since it was discovered last year.

It is now locked in a legal dispute with the National House Building Council (NHBC) over who is to blame and who should pay, in a case that lawyers say could take years to resolve.

The couple, who have racked up large debts from postgraduate studies, had hoped to move to a larger flat to accommodate their son, who is two, and their parents.

In her letter before action, which initiated her legal dispute, Ahmed told Target HCA that she understood it might be concerned with the fall in value of such properties but said it could not change the rules after it had entered into a contract to redeem her loan.

“It is shocking that a government agency would act in such a cavalier manner,” she said. “[It] is worrying and feels very wrong.”

Homes England said the redemption of help to buy loans was “purely an administrative matter and no contract has been reneged on”. It said it had not changed the rules on help to buy after the Grenfell scandal but could not comment on individual cases.

If a home is hit by “novel issues” such as Grenfell-style cladding, “Homes England reserves the right ... to agree the valuer used”. It said in some cases it could get a second opinion on valuation to ensure “the interests of borrowers and taxpayer” were protected.

Taregt said: “If a borrower’s property is affected by novel issues in relation to its valuation, eg its external cladding, Homes England reserves the right, in accordance with the terms of the equity mortgage, to agree the valuer used. This ensures the appropriate due diligence is carried out in the interests of borrowers and the taxpayer investment in these homes.”

Galliard declined to comment.

The NHBC said: “We understand that the situation at New Capital Quay is very concerning for residents. We have been in regular contact with the residents to keep them updated.”

It said Galliard’s subsidiary that is managing the estate, PMML, “is legally responsible for the ongoing safety” and its house guarantee “does not absolve PMML of this duty”.

A home owner.

Still , a choice ... either continue to live there or ... swallow the loss and move elsewhere.

For any tenants of BTLs ... same applies.

BUT , for social housing tenants , what is their choice ?

Continue to live in a potentially " Unsafe " property on a manor where the waiting list for virtually anything is months if not years ?

How many are our fellow carers ?
While I do feel sorry for anyone who's property is blighted and faces a long wait for resolution, what the people in this story were trying to do was repay the Help to buy loan while the value is so small. Once the problem is sorted and the value rises again they would have saved themselves some £100,000 against what they would have to repay then. This is Government money. Are they trying it on, or is it morally theirs to do? Interesting moral conundrum
Agreed ?

Blighted property ? ... an analogy :

Whatever scheme / funds are used , selling a " Motor vehicle " as roadworthy is not lawful if , on closer inspection , there is a serious fault which would mean additional costs to pass it's mot.

In that instance , the buyer has recourse through Consumer Protection Law against the seller.

Time frame ?

What were the surveyors , acting on behalf of the buyers , doing ?

Any outside monies , from whatever source , would be released ONLY after consideration of that report.

Full structural or ... a " Mickey Mouse " one merely to satisfy outside parties ?

In my own banking days , now 27 years ago in the dim distant past , full structural or ... forget it !!!

( Any reader in doubt ? Just read some of the horror stories in new builds , complete with 10 year NHBCs , out there ! )

A few potential buyers thanked us for that !!!

In one instant , hidden asbestos was discovered , commercial property on market for several million ... at 1981 values !!!

Cladding ... may have been " Okay " at the time of purchase BUT ... as Grenfell Tower proved , unsafe.

Where does the responsibilty lie , and how far back ?

Probably , a game of musical chairs ... when the music stops , whoever owns it gets the problem ... regardless of whether or not the previous owners knew ???

Caveat emptor ???

If leasehold , and communial works are involved , will that cost also fall on all leaseholders ... see earlier postings on that one !

The outcome of Grenfell Tower will set a precedent ... hopefully ?

In the interim , more " Conundrums " will be reported.

Even afterwards , a few conundrums for conundrums ... say the legal profession , rubbing their hands in anticipation ?

" More shoulds / coulds / woulds please ... yes and no answers are not good for our business ! "
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