Cladding scandal: Leaseholders face £20,000 bill after government withdraw funding due to 'error'

ITV Granada Reports' Andrew Fletcher has the latest on the story.

Leaseholders trapped in unsafe flats in a North West city are facing cladding bills of up to £20,000, after the Government withdrew its funding approval due to an 'error.'

Residents of the XQ7 tower block, in Salford, had been told the repair work to remove three types of external cladding would be covered by the Building Safety Fund.

On 1 April 2021, it was confirmed that the funding would be provided to cover the entire £10.5m cost and work would begin shortly.

But they have since been contacted by the Government to say it was a mistake and they will have to foot the bill to remove the flammable material.

Simon Curtis, who is a resident in the XQ7 building, was planning to marry his partner over the Summer. They've had to put those plans on hold.

He told ITV Granada Reports: "It's unsettling; it's hard to relax - and that's just the fear of something happening to XQ7.

"There's also so many people impacted financially as well that it just weighs on their minds."

There are 270 apartments in this Salford tower block - leaseholders each now face a £20,000 bill, which many will struggle to afford.

Ben is one of the tenants. He told ITV Granada Reports: "It's a significant amount of money. It's a deposit on a house for some people. And for that to effectively be taken away is a real kick to be honest."

In a statement, a government spokesperson said: “Building owners and industry should make buildings safe without passing on costs to leaseholders and we are introducing new measures that will legally require building owners to prove they have tried all routes to cover costs.

”The original application submitted by the building owners included works that were ineligible.

“Zenith are now proceeding with a full application for eligible remediation work and we will fund all eligible works in full."

Credit: ITV News

A statement from XQ7 Management Company said: "Management Company believe that all works should be included within the remediation to ensure that remediation can be completed without burden to Leaseholders who are in no way at fault in this matter.

"Please be aware that both the resident directors and Zenith Management are working incredibly hard to avoid/minimise any costs borne by Leaseholders."

Listen to this episode of ITV Granada Reports' podcast From The North: The cladding scandal - what is it like to live in an apartment classified as 'unsafe'?