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Blog February 2, 2022
     

Good news for Dagenham leaseholders: Government to pay for fire alarm systems in ALL buildings awaiting removal of unsafe cladding

Dagenham leaseholders living in buildings where a ‘Waking Watch’ scheme is in place will be able to install fire alarm systems free of charge, it has been announced.

The Government said “rip off, misused fire safety measures” will be scrapped, saving Dagenham homeowners hundreds of pounds every year.

The Waking Watch scheme - used in high-rise buildings awaiting the removal of unsafe cladding – is a fire safety system in which suitably trained staff continually patrol floors and the exterior perimeter of a building to maintain the safety of its occupants from fire.

But according to the Leasehold Advisory Service, the initiative has left leaseholders facing average costs of £17,897 per building, or around £331 per flat.

A Government funding scheme – the Waking Watch Relief Fund (WWRF) - is in place to pay for fire alarm systems, but only in buildings over 18 metres tall.

But the Government announced this week that it will now pay for the installation of fire alarm systems in buildings awaiting the completion of remediation works, regardless of height.

It means thousands of leaseholders will be able to install fire alarm systems at no cost to themselves.

Commenting on the scheme, Minister of State for Building Safety and Fire, Lord Greenhalgh, said: “It’s unacceptable that innocent leaseholders are still facing fire risks in their own homes, let alone being subjected to the disgraceful misuse of rip-off measures at the hands of their building owners.

“The extra funding being made available today will be a huge relief to many being forced to pay unnecessary costs.”

He added: “However, fire alarms and Waking Watch are not long-term solutions. Industry must take responsibility and pay to fix their dangerous mistakes, and we are actively pursuing developers and manufacturers at fault to bring this scandal to an end.”

It was also announced this week that the Government will examine whether the insurance market is working for leaseholders, after it was revealed that buildings insurance in blocks of flats had increased by as much as 100 per cent year-on-year in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy.

For help and advice with related matters, please get in touch with our Director, Michael O'Brien, at michael@brookings.co.uk.

 

 

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