Leaseholders in high-rise apartments will be relieved, after years of debate following the Grenfell tower tragedy, the Building Safety Bill has gained royal assent. The 262-page act will become law in England and Wales and aims to protect the rights of leaseholders living in high-rise buildings and ensure that high-rises are constructed and maintained to a high safety standard. Here we will go over what these changes are and what they will mean for leaseholders and property developers.
With building safety being at the forefront of this piece of legislation, multiple new measures are being put in place to ensure standards are upheld. One of the most important of these measures is the introduction of a Building Standards Regulator. This new Building Standards Regulator will be appointed by the government and their job is to ensure that people living in high rises are kept safe. The Building Standards Regulator will have power over governing the safety of construction products and the competence of architects in the whole of the UK. Additionally, three new safety ‘gateways’ are being introduced for more high-risk developments. These gateways will allow for safety-focused oversight throughout a building’s development cycle in the planning, design and construction phases of development.
There is also support for leaseholders in the Building Safety Bill. It limits the ability of freeholders to pass on costs to leaseholders and clarifies remediation for certain safety breaches. Furthermore, the bill introduces the concept of Building Liabilities Orders (BLO) where parent companies involved in faulty materials such as cladding can be made to pay liabilities. These new BLO’s also allow for more time to claim liabilities, increasing the cut off time from six months to 30 years. Finally, a New Homes Ombudsman and a New Homes Quality Code are being introduced to help protect the buyers of newly constructed residential properties. New build buyers can use the New Homes Ombudsman to seek the redress for new homes that do not meet the standards of the New Homes Quality Code.
Here is what our Managing Director and Non-Executive Director of the NRLA Douglas Haig had to say about the new Building Safety Bill;
This is a very complex piece of legislation that will take a considerable period of time to understand how effective it will be. It is however a very positive step for leaseholders in the process of remediating any existing defective buildings and importantly should lay the foundations to ensure that there is a clear and referenceable source for all building information going forwards.”
Overall, the Building Safety Bill will go some ways to improving building safety standards, both by increasing the level of oversight in high-risk developments and by implementing introducing the New Homes Quality Code. A Building Standards Regulator is also being appointed to ensure people living in high-rises are protected from health and safety risks. Finally, leaseholders are being better protected with the implementation of BLOs and the New Homes Ombudsman.
If you are a leaseholder of a high-rise property and want to know how the Building Safety Bill can affect your apartment block please feel free to get in touch with us here.