Following our warning that rules governing the safety of apartment blocks in Scotland, introduced following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, have made thousands of flats worthless, we hear of a Newhaven couple facing financial ruin because their flat doesn’t have a safety certificate for cladding.
Gregg and Emily Murray had been renting the high-rise property in north Edinburgh while living in New Zealand, but when they tried to put it on the market, they were told it was ‘unsellable’.
The couple, who have three children, discovered they could only sell the flat if they obtained a survey certificate, confirming cladding on the outside of the block was safe.
However, even if they did commission a survey, at a cost of £4,200, there’s no guarantee lenders acting for potential buyers will accept the certificate as valid.
We revealed last week how mortgage providers have ordered their valuers to place a £0 value on properties in buildings measuring 18 metres - six storeys - or higher which don’t have an official certificate confirming that the cladding does not pose a fire risk.
Guidance introduced by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) on use of cladding on high rise buildings in England and Wales has been adopted by the Scottish Government.
However, apartment blocks north of the border, including tenement buildings, are co-owned by all the tenants and managed by factors, and indemnity insurers won’t provide cover for Home Reports addressed to all co-owners. Factors can’t commission a Home Report without approval from all co-owners in a block.
The situation has created a logjam for thousands of owners like the Murrays who are unable to sell their homes because the Home Report values them as worthless.
Gregg’s sister Lisa Murray, 41, told the Evening News: “My brother and his family are close to losing their home and they are financially ruined.”
She blamed ministers at Holyrood for not acting quickly enough when the new rules came in.
She said: “The Scottish Government was pushed to put funding into this issue to help people pay for this survey but everyone I’ve spoken to at the Scottish Government says it’s not their responsibility.
“Given that the Scottish Government has been aware of the change in rule for some time now, it feels like they have failed to implement the appropriate measures to protect people.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said it was wrong to attribute the situation to its regulations.
"Mortgage lenders introduced a new requirement concerning cladding. Oversight and regulation of the mortgage industry is a matter reserved to the UK Government."
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