Following the devastating Grenfell Tower disaster, the government recently brought in the Building Safety Act 2022 to fundamentally reform regulations across the construction and residential property sector.
The key takeaways from the new Act are:
1. Residents of high-rise buildings will have more of a say in how their building is kept safe.
Under the Act, residents of high rise buildings (at least 11 meters high or 5 storeys) will be able to raise building safety concerns directly with the owners and managers of the buildings , who will become known as accountable persons .This means that these accountable persons will have a duty to listen to the concerns raised by the residents and if they feel as though their concerns are being ignored they can raise them with the Building Safety Regulator. All homeowners will also have twice the amount of time to claim compensation for sub-standard construction work increasing from 6 to 15 years.
2. More protection for leaseholders
Building owners will not legally be able to charge qualifying leaseholders (defined under the Act but including those living in their own homes and with no more than three UK properties in total) for any costs in circumstances where a building (in the majority of cases meaning those over five storeys or eleven metres tall) requires cladding to be removed or remediated.Qualifying leaseholders will also have robust protections from the costs associated with non-cladding defects, including interim measures such as a waking watch system where specially trained people continually patrol all floors and the outside of a building for the purpose of detecting a fire, raising the alarm, and managing an evacuation.
3. Better framework for the construction of new homes
The Act looks to strengthen the regulatory regime of construction products by ensuring that all products on the UK market are safe for their intended use. The National Regulator for Construction Products will monitor and enforce this.
What is the impact on buying and selling a property?
The introduction of the Act means that any leaseholder that wants to sell their flat within a residential building caught by the Act will need to serve a ‘Leaseholder’s Deed of Certificate’ on their landlord. A landlord must then serve a “Landlord’s Certificate” within four weeks of receipt of the Leaseholder’s Certificate. The Landlord’s Certificate will set out if any repair works are due to the building. This will be an important consideration for future purchasers of the property as they will want to see whether they may have to bear the costs of any significant remedial works.
The importance of thinking ahead
It is now very important for sellers of leasehold properties to serve leaseholder certificates on their Landlord as soon as possible to avoid potential delays further down the line. Landlords will also need to ensure that they arrange the relevant inspections and surveys of qualifying buildings to determine whether remedial works are required under the Act.Furthermore, the UK Finance Mortgage Lender Handbook now specifies that conveyancers will have to confirm to lenders whether remediation works are required and whether the necessary Leaseholder and Landlord Certificates have been received. Failing to plan ahead can therefore create a significant stumbling block, and therefor it is important that your conveyancer is aware of the change in policy and can advise a client of the relevant duties sooner rather than later.
The Building Safety Act 2022 promotes safety and these new precautions taken by the government are a step in the right direction in ensuring that another tragedy like the Grenfell Tower disaster does not happen again. It is of benefit that all parties are aware of this act as residents may be entitled to compensation or be eligible for changes to the building. Building owners should also be aware of the introduction of this act as they may face significant costs. If you would like any assistance in relation to this article, please contact our specialist property team on 0151 305 9650 or email email@example.com
This article is not intended to be interpreted as advice.