Sarah Rennie’s flat on the 13th floor of Birmingham’s Brindley House offered the 35-year-old disabled leaseholder a home for life after she left university in 2008. She set about adapting it, installing a wet room, ceiling hoist and profile bed to suit her needs as her health deteriorated through a degenerative muscle condition.
But the cladding crisis and the cost of making the building safe has now left her facing bankruptcy.
The 16-storey residential block is the tallest in Birmingham but as well as the removal of the dangerous cladding, the indoor fire safety issues are leaving residents facing a huge bill.
Sarah’s £53,000 share of the cladding removal, due to start this month, has been reduced to about £3,000 thanks to a grant but the financial woes don’t end there.
“The result of the cladding means we’ve needed to bring in Waking Watch and our insurance is eye-watering. Our service charge has gone up four to five-fold,” Sarah tells The Big Issue.
“I’ve worked really hard to come up with a financial plan that’s modest and when I go part-time I can live simply and comfortably.