Gove misses builder’s deadline to support remediation plan
Michael Gove threw down the gauntlet to national housebuilders some time ago, to voluntarily sign up to an agreement to rectify buildings over 11 metres in height that had potential fire safety issues. They not only had to sign up or pledge their allegiance, they also had to sign away their rights to get funding from the government to cover the cost.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities set the April 5th as the deadline for developers and housebuilders, and most have been conspicuous by their absence.
As we are about to hit Easter, only six of the large national housebuilders are signed up, but there were actually over 50 new-home developers that have been targeted by Gove to comply.
It might be that many of these see that if they commit to not having the ability to offset potential remediation costs presently covered by the Building Safety Fund, then they are signing up to a very large debt commitment over many years.
What is clear is that Gove, the Great Leveller and, of course, the Housing Secretary will now be caught up in a power struggle as to who should foot the bill, to help hundreds of thousands caught up in this scandal of poorly constructed housing stock all across the country.
It is thought that Gove wishes to get a £4 billion undertaking from the developers, though many estimate that the true bill for fixing the fire safety issues may be triple this. Whatever the sum, it seems that the government will have to force the main body of builders to commit, rather than hope they will volunteer.
Crest Nicholson was the first company to move into the limelight, pledging up to £120 million to cover what it estimated as being its liability. Interestingly, Crest Nicholson also said that “Failing to agree to these new guidelines would carry further consequences, implemented by DLUHC, that would impact the Group’s ability to operate and trade normally within the housing market.”
Are we to take it that Mr Gove is going to in some way block those companies who do not get out their chequebooks? Clearly the C-suite at these companies are caught between a rock and a hard place; comply and leave themselves open to shareholder revolt and possible lower dividends, or take on the wrath of the government.
As usual, there is silence from the DLUHC. Maybe levelling up is a little in the air with the recent revelations around the Chancellor and his wife, and the plight of normal homeowners paying out for firewatchers in buildings that could literally become fire traps is not newsworthy.
We await Michael Gove’s next move, as this tragic epic grinds forward much like the Grenfell Tower inquiry, which embarrassingly for the government has shown that it was government inertia that had a part to play in that terrible tragedy.
As quoted in the Guardian yesterday: “Over the past fortnight the Grenfell inquiry has heard evidence from a succession of ministers who have lined up for the first time to explain what went wrong. The evidence has laid bare a litany of miscommunication, poor governance and misguided policies in the government department responsible for fire safety.
“Eric Pickles, the secretary of state for communities and local government from 2010 to 2015, said in his evidence last week that even if he had accepted Kirkham’s March 2013 recommendations, he did not believe it would have made any difference.
Lord Pickles said: “I think there was a kind of mindset that existed in parts of the department that just simply ignored what was happening, made a view about what we were and came to it.”
Playing the blame game is always a double-edged sword, getting things right for the future is best done by mutual consent rather than knee jerk reaction.
My thoughts are that Mr Gove in his usual style will be parachuted out of his present position long before any real progress is made over the future of housing.
Press Release: Yardi Integrates with TDS API to Streamline Tenancy Deposits
The integration between the TDS API and Yardi allows agents, owners, and operators of residential real estate to register deposits at the click of a button, without the need to enter data manually.
This simple process saves time, removes the unnecessary duplication of work, and eliminates the risk of human error. The API transfers deposit data from Yardi’s technology platform to the deposit scheme for both TDS Custodial and TDS Insured.
Yardi provides an end-to-end platform to manage the marketing, letting and financial operations of residential properties, including PRS (Private Rental Sector), Build to Rent, single-family homes and Purpose-Built Student Accommodation.
Steve Harriott, CEO of TDS, comments:
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Neal Gemassmer, vice president of international for Yardi, comments:
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To find out more about TDS API, click here.
Andrew Stanton is the founder and CEO of Proptech-PR, a consultancy for Founders of Proptechs looking to grow and exit, using his influence from decades of industry experience. Separately he is a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations. He is also the founder and editor of Proptech-X Proptech & Property News, where his insights, connections and detailed analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are second to none.