Numerous flats are left virtually unsellable as the Government struggles with the aftermath of the Grenfell catastrophe and Alex Aristidou owns a flat he can’t sell.
And an inspection revealed the presence of flammable insulation on his building in Greenwich, south-east London, compounding a nightmare.
Alex Aristidou, 30, and his wife had been trying to sell their one-bedroom apartment, ahead of the arrival of their first child.
They soon found buyers and had an offer accepted on a new home in Surrey, but Alex Aristidou’s building was fitted with external cladding and without a fire safety certificate known as an EWS1 form and lenders declined to offer their would-be buyers a mortgage.
As they joined a long list of people in England waiting for a fire safety survey, the sale fell through and the couple and their newborn had to move in with his parents.
Along with nearly 2 million other people in England, Alex Aristidou and his young family are victims of a ballooning national situation, triggered by the killer 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in London compounded by Government blunders, according to MPs and campaigners.
The Grenfell tragedy claimed 72 lives and the continuing investigation confirmed that external cladding fitted to the building as part of a renovation earlier in the decade was the principle cause of the fire’s rapid spread.
Those findings put the spotlight on the safety of similar materials used on hundreds of thousands of other new or renovated buildings and shattered confidence in the country’s building codes.
Then there was a derogatory report by the parliamentary housing committee that said it was extremely astonishing and unacceptable to have more than 2,000 high-risk residential buildings with hazardous cladding many years after the disaster.
It also said it would be an abdication of responsibility by the Government if leaseholders were forced to pay to correct the problem.
Campaign group End Our Cladding Scandal estimates that the deterioration of trust in building safety has created 1.93 million mortgage prisoners in England such as the Aristidous family, who are unable to sell their homes because banks and other mortgage providers have declined to lend to would-be buyers.
It’s a perfect storm said John Baguley, of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. He said, that in the absence of being able to rely on building regulations and without an alternative process, buyers can’t obtain finance because lenders just don’t know what’s on the exterior of the building.
There’s just one word for why – greed. And it appears that there’s a complete lack of coordination and clarity over responsibilities and all the links of the chain saying it wasn’t their responsibility, but clear regulation would have sorted that.