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Fri May 20 2022

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New online service tracks action on high-risk towers

21 Jan An online service for tracking the remediation of high-risk tower blocks and discovering which owners are failing to take action has been launched by the government.

The new service is intended to help track progress of remediation works in the wake of the Grenfell fire
The new service is intended to help track progress of remediation works in the wake of the Grenfell fire

The new service will allow leaseholders to track applications to the Building Safety Fund. The government said that the online portal will expose building owners who are failing to take action to fix their properties.

Under the new Leaseholder & Resident Service, those living in tower blocks will have access to updates on the status of their building’s application to the government’s Building Safety Fund. This will help leaseholders to understand where their building is in the process, said the government.

The service is designed to speed up the process of removing unsafe non-ACM cladding from the highest risk buildings, forcing building owners to be more transparent, and exposing those who have failed to take action to make their buildings safe, it said.

Minister of state for building safety and fire Lord Greenhalgh said: “It is unacceptable that four years after the Grenfell tragedy innocent leaseholders are still living in buildings with unsafe cladding.

“Building owners are responsible for making their building’s safe, and we will no longer allow them to shirk from their duties and hide behind processes and corporate loopholes.

“Everyone – including leaseholders - has a right to know what is happening with their building and to live safely. Today’s launch is a key step in providing them with both the service and the peace of mind that they deserve.”

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On 10 January, the secretary of state for levelling up, housing & communities announced that leaseholders would no longer pay for the fixing of unsafe cladding, with building owners and industry footing the bill instead.

The government said that the majority of building owners are already engaged with the Building Safety Fund, a £5.1bn fund targeted at remediating unsafe non-ACM cladding on residential buildings 18m and over. However, a minority have yet to come forward and provide building information, leading to unnecessary delays and costs for leaseholders.

Under the new service, a unique code will enable leaseholders and residents to track the progress of their building’s application through an online service, with information updated monthly. This will enable leaseholders to keep track of their building’s application and help apply pressure on their building owners if action is needed, said the government.

Leaseholders will receive a unique code from their building owners and are encouraged to contact owners if they do not receive their code, or if they have any further queries on the status of their building’s application. Many residents will also receive their codes directly from government.

The secretary of state is currently reviewing the wider programme ahead of the next phase of funding, expected early this year, in order to maintain the pace of building remediation and ensure the Building Safety Fund is further targeted at the highest risk buildings.

Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “Greater transparency over the progress of Building Safety Fund applications is a positive move, providing welcome information to residents in buildings across the country who have been living with uncertainty about their safety and their future. Housing associations are committed to working with the government to tackle the building safety crisis and support all efforts to protect leaseholders from costs.”

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