Residents of the South London block face a £ 2.6 million fire safety bill.
Oyster Court in South London fails to meet the height threshold for a bailout in the Grenfell Tower disaster.
Nurses, teachers and post office workers at South London are among those facing crippling fire safety bills that they believe could reach £ 85,000 each despite owning only a fraction of their homes.
This week, the Optivo housing association told key workers in shared property properties on Oyster Court in Southwark, South London, that they were facing a combined £ 2.6 million bill to fix problems including combustible siding, wooden balconies missing firewalls.
Because the five-story building is less than 18 meters (59 feet) tall, none of the costs will be covered by the government’s £ 5 billion ransom for fuel-clad high-rise towers in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster.
“The government must take immediate action to prevent this.”
Optivo said he believed residents could qualify for government loans to cover costs but was still awaiting clarification. Ministers have said they plan to offer loans with a maximum repayment of £ 50 a month.
Residents of a neighbouring block built for private sale, with two-bedroom houses selling for £ 620,000, are likely to see their cladding work being funded by the government because it measures over 18 meters.
Oyster Court is home to key workers and others who bought their properties in shared ownership schemes, but under the terms of their contracts, they must pay all, rather than part, of the remediation bill.
A charity worker who bought a 25% stake in her home for £ 53,000 and faced a loss of more than £ 20,000 said the bills were “devastating lives.” Emma McGovern, a teacher and mother of four who owns 45% of her home on a £ 120,000 mortgage, said: “It’s crazy. I don’t know of a teacher who has £ 85,000.”
It’s the latest in a growing building safety crisis that Michael Gove, the secretary of state for grading, communities and housing, has been tasked with solving.
On Tuesday, 120 households from a 22-story social housing tower, Clare House in East London, were informed that they would be rushed to temporary accommodation because it did not meet safety standards.
Clarion, the 50-year-old owner of the block, said engineers had identified concerns about the fire resistance of the structure of its extensive panel system, and it had an external wall insulation system that did not meet standards.
Clare Miller, Clarion CEO, said: “This is not a decision we have made lightly, but we will always put the safety of our residents above all else. We have a comprehensive resident support package, and there will be a 24-hour alarm clock in the building as we help people move in an orderly manner.”
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