Cladding and remediation

We welcome the government’s announcement that leaseholders (i.e. shared owners and those who own their homes outright) in buildings over 11m are to be protected from cladding remediation costs. This much-needed assurance came into force on 28 June 2022 following the passage of the Building Safety Act 2022 through Parliament.

We know this has been an anxious time for many of our leaseholders and are pleased to confirm that we’ve updated our approach to reflect the new law and will not pass on costs to qualifying leaseholders for historical cladding remediation work on buildings over 11m. We will also continue to cover costs for interim safety measures related to remediation, such as temporary alarm installations and waking watch services.

Whilst we wait for further clarity around what the law means in practice so we can provide more specific detail on individual buildings, here are some frequently asked questions about: what the Building Safety Act means for qualifying leaseholders.

Your questions answered

Building Safety Act protections for qualifying leaseholders

What do you mean by ‘qualifying leaseholder’?

You’re a qualifying leaseholder if your property is in a building above 11 metres (or five storeys), and on 14 February 2022:
  • the property was your main home
  • you owned no more than three UK residential properties in total
Please note if the reason the property wasn’t your main home on 14 February 2022 was because you had to move out and sub-let it, you’re still covered as a qualifying leaseholder if the other criteria above are met.

What protections does the Act offer to qualifying leaseholders?

The leaseholder protections in the Building Safety Act came into force on 28 June 2022 and mean that, by law, qualifying leaseholders in England can no longer be charged for cladding remediation. There are also now legal protections in place for non-cladding costs.
  • In other words, any unlimited liability that qualifying leaseholders might have had in the past to fix historical building safety costs no longer applies, meaning that you won’t be the first port of call to pay for building safety repairs.

What work and costs do these protections apply to?

  • The leaseholder protections cover work to fix a building safety risk, as defined in the Building Safety Act.
  • In simple terms, this includes any defect caused during the construction or refurbishment of a building in the past 30 years that causes a risk to people’s safety from the spread of fire or the collapse of some or all of the building.
  • There is a distinction between remediation work to address defects and day-to-day services and repairs to keep your building safe. Your service charges will still include costs for day-to-day services and repairs.

If I meet the criteria as a qualifying leaseholder, who is liable to pay for building safety repairs on my building?

You may have heard about the ‘funding waterfall’ in relation to who’s liable for costs. At the top of this are developers, building owners and landlords. The Building Safety Act means that it is owners and landlords who are liable to pay to fix historical fire safety defects if:
  • they are either the developer, or they’re linked to the development of a building with fire safety defects, or
  • they have net worth of over £2 million per affected building.

Will you continue to negotiate with the companies that built our homes?

As you may have heard, many developers have pledged to remediate life critical fire safety works in buildings over 11 metres that they’ve played a role in developing or refurbishing over the last 30 years in England. This is really good news, especially as many on the list are the original builders of our homes. However, where builders haven’t yet signed up, we will continue to rigorously pursue them wherever possible.

What happens to any future leaseholders if I sell my property?

The protections provided within the Act will automatically transfer to any future buyers of the property. This means that all new owners of a property that was eligible for the protections on 14 February 2022 will be covered, even if they bought it after that date.

Does this mean I no longer have to contribute towards any fire safety related work at my building?

As set out in Q3, there is a distinction between putting right defects that are related to the construction or refurbishment of a building, and more general day to day services and repairs to keep your building safe. This means your service charges will still include costs for day to day services and repairs.

Does this change the requirement for EWS1 forms?

For the time being the guidance from RICS remains unchanged and lenders are continuing to ask for EWS1 forms. We will of course let you know if their position changes. You can find out more about EWS1 forms here on our website.

Where can I find out more?

The government has published lots of useful information about building safety costs and protections for leaseholders on their website so, if you can’t find an answer to your query here, please check out their building safety costs FAQ.

As mentioned above, we will also continue to communicate information as and when we have more clarity, both in relation to all leaseholders where possible, and to particular leaseholders in relation to specific schemes or buildings, as applicable.