Bank announcement gives hope to people trying to sell apartments with dangerous cladding

Video report by Granada Reports Correspondent Rob Smith

Those living in medium and high-rise flats with dangerous cladding could now be able to sell or remortgage after six of the largest banks began lending on them once more.

But, homeowners say despite the move they are no closer to a resolution and fear insurance costs and inflated costs will make it just as impossible - leaving them trapped once more.

Banks stopped lending on flats with cladding issues following the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 leaving thousands stuck in their properties for years.

Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, Nationwide Building Society, NatWest and Santander say they will now consider fresh mortgage applications based on long-awaited guidance from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) on how to value affected properties.

Michael McClatchey owns an apartment in Manchester with dangerous cladding, he says: "I can't really see sales going through because of the inflated costs.

"There is a likelihood that your property won't value where it should have been in normal circumstances and there are increased costs service charges with insurance issues."

Other campaigners cautiously welcomed the move.

“It sounds positive and is a step in the right direction,” said Giles Grover, the co-leader of the End Our Cladding Scandal campaign.

"But there is a question of how it will be implemented on the ground."

In a statement the banking lobby group UK Finance said it is a “significant step to enable lending to recommence”.

The changes will effect buildings more than 11 metres high, though it will need to be proved that dangerous materials will either be removed by developers, or covered by leaseholder protections or a specific government scheme.

The problems were highlighted after the Grenfell Tower disaster when mortgage providers pulled back from lending against flats with potentially dangerous cladding.

There is hope that the move will help get the property market moving.

The minister for local government and building safety, Lee Rowley, said "Lenders have confirmed that this will help to get the property market moving again by helping buyers and innocent leaseholders, who have been stuck for too long, to sell their homes.

"This is possible because of the protections for leaseholders in the Building Safety Act, and our commitment to getting buildings fixed, whether through our own remediation schemes or as a result of the pledge from developers.”