The campaign enjoys its first victory, allowing flat owners to speak up about cladding issues.
After being spotlighted by The Sunday Times, the housing ministry has said the issue had been “misreported”, but it has now changed the wording of contracts that prevented leaseholders from speaking out about the issues they were facing.
The contracts had stipulated that “any communication” with journalists about repairs needed “written approval”, even if “in the overwhelming public interest”.
The campaign will not be stopping there, however. Although this victory has allowed flat owners to speak out about cladding issues, The Sunday Times has stressed that owners will still be liable for fire-safety costs under current plans, sometimes running to more than the cost of the flat itself.
The news brand launched the campaign in October, pledging to “help those trapped in Britain’s hidden housing scandal” in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster. It added: “These properties should never have been built. And why should leaseholders trapped in dangerous homes that they bought in good faith with hard-earned savings pay for them to be made safe?
“Adequate housing was recognised as part of the right to a decent standard of living in the United Nation’s 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
The campaign calls on the government to help those affected in five key ways. First, that it pays for works upfront and recoups costs through levies and courts cases against the original builders. Secondly, that it expands the government’s fund to fix blocks of all heights, not just those over 18 metres.
Next, the government should strip all unsafe cladding by June next year, as well as make fire safety certificates easier to access for those wanting to ensure they are protected. Finally, it should make sure residents are not liable for historical defects or the costs of future regulation changes.