Residents handed £2m bill to replace flammable cladding

Residents at a block of flats in South London that is fitted with the same cladding as Grenfell Tower are being asked to pay more than £30,000 each to replace it.
 
Leaseholders of the Citiscape block have said they have been handed a combined bill of £2m to remove the aluminiumcomposite material (ACM) panels, which are thought to have helped spread the horrific fire.
 
The owner of the building — which is one of 228 to fail combustibility tests — said they were not responsible for the cost of replacing the cladding, despite instructions from the Department for Communities and Local Government that it must be replaced.
 
FirstPort, which manages the block of 93 flats, claimed the costs are “maintenance to be claimed under service charge”. As well as the cost of replacing the cladding, leaseholders have also been asked to fund a full-time fire marshall, at a cost of £300,000.
 
One resident told The Independent newspaper that residents were “really scared”. They added: “These flats are worth anything between £200,000 and £300,000, no more. Who can afford this? Show me one person who can afford this.”
 
The leaseholders were due to be taken to tribunal by FirstPort on February 9, where a decision will be made over who is obliged to pay for the works. The ruling is likely to set a precedent for the more than 200 other private buildings that identified fire risks in the wake of the Grenfell blaze.
 
A FirstPort spokesperson said: “We recognise that the potential costs are significant and are committed to minimising them, while putting residents’ safety first.Given the pressing need to undertake these essential safety works and the potential costs to leaseholders, we and others in the property industry welcome any clarity the government can provide
on what support will be made available.”

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