Families living in part of a major regeneration scheme have been told they will be unable to sell their homes due to a fire risk – just five years after they were built.

The flats at Prowse Court, in Fore Street, Edmonton, have timber cladding on their balconies that could catch fire and cause it to spread throughout the building.

Tighter fire safety guidelines brought in after the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 mean the materials – which the developer says were previously deemed safe – now need replacing.

But this means leaseholders could face bills for remedial work running to £4,000 or higher, according to Basim Jafar, who heads a residents’ group at Prowse Court.

Until the work is carried out, families will be unable to sell up because mortgage providers will not lend against the properties, he added.

Mr Jafar said: “Innocent people are going to be on the hook for very large sums of money – when they had nothing to do with the design specification of this building.

“We are here 24/7 – stuck in homes that we bought in good faith. We are worried when are the fire brigade going to turn up, when is the next fire going to happen?

“We are worried and disappointed. Some people will be angry, and most of us are not going to have the savings. Me and my wife are desperate to move, but I don’t know if we can.”

Enfield Independent: Basim Jafar, director of residents' group Highmead Management CompanyBasim Jafar, director of residents' group Highmead Management Company

Prowse Court was completed in 2015 on the site of the former Highmead Estate – the first part of the regeneration of Angel Edmonton.

A recent investigation carried out by an expert fire engineer – paid for by residents – revealed timber decking and cladding on the balconies “imposes the risk of fire spreading up the exterior of the building”.

It means the building achieves the lowest rating on a document known as an “external wall system” (EWS1) form, which Mr Jafar says is stopping residents from selling or remortgaging competitively until the cladding is replaced.

He said estate agents had told families they had “no chance” of selling, and most mortgage firms will not lend on buildings with a B2 rating – except in some cases where there is a remediation plan and a timeline in place.

Mr Jafar called on the Government, the developer or the warranty provider to step in and offer financial support for leaseholders. While the residents’ group has some reserve funds set aside, he said it is “nowhere near enough” to cover the full cost.

So far, the Government has announced £1.6 billion of funding to pay for the removal of unsafe cladding – but Mr Jafar believes it will not cover all the flats affected by similar problems across the country.

The landlord of Prowse Court is a company called Adriatic Land 5. A separate company called Homeground manages the property on its behalf.

A spokesperson for Homeground Management said the issues are down to “a serial failure of building and construction regulation over many years” and the onus must be on the Government to “resolve the challenges”.

The spokesperson added: “Where warranty claims are unsuccessful, there is a responsibility on the part of the developer, and any other parties involved in the design and construction of the facade, to contribute towards a solution and work with the residents, freeholder, and any resident management company to address any concerns with the building.

“In our experience, large developers have rightly come forward in a number of cases to take responsibility.”

A spokesperson for Countryside Properties – the developer behind Prowse Court – said: “The design of the building and its materials, including the balconies and terraces, complied with building regulations at the time.

“While we cannot undertake work in response to changes in legislation after the property was built, we will, of course, assist residents where we can.”

A spokesperson for warranty provider NHBC said: “NHBC is currently investigating a claim relating to this property and no decision has yet been made. We will continue to liaise directly with the claimant and keep him updated.”

An Enfield Council spokesperson said it believes central government has a responsibility to fully fund cladding remediation nationally to ensure leaseholders are financially protected. The council is working with Countryside and the management company “to find a safe, effective and fair solution to this issue”, they added.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “Our priority is to make homes safer, quickly – that’s why we’re providing £1.6 billion to speed up the removal of unsafe cladding.

“We are currently processing registrations to the Building Safety Fund and working with building owners to get information to assess their eligibility for the scheme.

“However, the Government should not be the only means of funding remediation work – we expect building owners to ensure their buildings are safe without passing remediation costs onto leaseholders.”