Government announces 'new statutory protections for leaseholders' within the Building Safety Bill | News

Government announces 'new statutory protections for leaseholders' within the Building Safety Bill

The Government has announced changes to the Building Safety Bill, with leaseholders getting new protections so they will have "no bills for fixing unsafe cladding".

Michael Gove, Housing Secretary, made the announcement as part of a "reset" of approach by government on building safety.

The government will also introduce amendments to the Building Safety Bill to retrospectively extend the legal right of building owners and leaseholders to demand compensation from their building’s developer for safety defects up to 30 years old.

The Bill currently covers defects up to 15 years old and so this amendment will give thousands more leaseholders the right to challenge.

It follows on from a new £4bn fund for buildings between 11m-18m, which will be sourced from developers, and a new £27m fund from Treasury to end Waking Watch costs by installing fire alarms in those buildings.

Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Michael Gove, said: "More than 4 years after the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the system is broken.

"Leaseholders are trapped, unable to sell their homes and facing vast bills.

"But the developers and cladding companies who caused the problem are dodging accountability and have made vast profits during the pandemic whilst hard working families have struggled.

"From today, we are bringing this scandal to an end – protecting leaseholders and making industry pay.

"We will scrap proposals for loans and long-term debt for leaseholders in medium-rise buildings and give a guarantee that no leaseholder living in their own flat will pay a penny to fix dangerous cladding.

"Working with members of both Houses, we will look to bring a raft of leaseholder protections into law through our Building Safety bill.

"And we will restore much needed common sense on building safety assessments, ending the practice of too many buildings being declared unsafe."

Dame Judith Hackitt, who chaired the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety said: "Today’s announcement by the Secretary of State is very welcome and should come as a great relief to the many leaseholders who have felt trapped by the prospect of having to pay for remediating defects to properties which they bought in good faith.

"Those who caused the problem now need to step up, take responsibility and show some leadership. This problem has gone on for too long and we need a rapid solution, not months of debate and negotiation leaving innocent leaseholders in further limbo."