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
- the property was your main home
- you owned no more than three UK residential properties in total
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.