There has been much debate on tall buildings recently following the tragic events in Kensington. Understandable concerns arise about the safety of all premises in which people sleep, eat and work. Many will be watching developments closely on building and fire regulation reforms which emerge from the anticipated inquiry report into Grenfell Tower.

For private sector landlords and tenants, the costs incurred in making substantial alterations such as replacement of cladding can often pose difficulties on the issue of service charges. A typical lease requires a landlord to repair structure and exterior and they can then claim reimbursement of costs from the building’s tenants.

However the landlord is usually only required to keep the building in repair and ensure statutory compliance, meaning cladding replacement would only be recoverable if the existing cladding is in disrepair or does not comply with current regulations. These are not always straightforward issues to determine, but urgent safety concerns may of course override commercial considerations.