The Building Safety Act and higher risk buildings
This Legislation will be fully implemented in October 2023. The Act sets out safety requirements in relation to higher risk buildings.
A higher risk building is one that is:
- at least 18m or 7 storeys high
- with 2 or more residential units.
The Act covers the different stages of a building, including the design stage, planning stage, construction stage and any period that it is occupied.
What does it mean if I am a tenant or leaseholder of a higher risk building?
The Act specifies what tenants and leaseholders must do in relation to personal building safety responsibilities for individual homes and communal areas. It also provides for ongoing building safety costs.
If you live or own a property in a higher risk building you should receive a resident engagement strategy.
One major point of the Act is that it has introduced measures to protect qualifying leaseholders (please see below) to ensure that they do not pay towards the cost of removing dangerous cladding on buildings and also capping the amount that leaseholders will contribute towards the cost of fixing non-cladding defects on a building.
How will landlords be governed to ensure that they carry out safety measures?
The Act specifies that a Building Safety Regulator will be introduced to ensure that owners of higher risk building follow the rules of the Act and carry out any necessary measures in relation to building safety responsibilities. The regulator will be run and overseen by the Health and Safety Executive.
How will this affect me if I own a property in a higher risk building?
If the property is in a higher risk building and you are deemed to be a qualifying leaseholder you may be required to obtain a landlord’s certificate and a leaseholder’s certificate.
What is a qualifying leaseholder?
If your property is in a higher risk building and on 14th February 2022 the property was your main residence or on that date you did not own any more than 3 dwellings in England, you will be a qualifying leaseholder. You must therefore obtain a landlord’s certificate and a leaseholder’s certificate.
What is a landlord’s certificate and when should this be provided?
A landlord must provide a certificate:
- When the landlord wishes to pass on part of the costs of any remediation works covered under the Act to the leaseholder as part of their service charge
- Within 4 weeks of receiving notification from the leaseholder that they propose to sell their leasehold property.
- Within 4 weeks of the landlord becoming aware of a relevant defect which was not covered by any previous landlord’s certificate.
The landlord’s certificate:
- Must be signed by the current landlord
- Must be based on the circumstances of the landlord in ownership on 14th February 2022
- Must be compliant with The Building Safety (Leaseholder Protections) (England) Regulations 2022
- If the landlord does not provide the certificate then remediation costs CANNOT be passed on to the leaseholder.
What is a leaseholder’s certificate and when should this be provided?
A leaseholder’s certificate can be produced by the leaseholder at any time and also can be requested by the landlord at any time.
The purpose of a leaseholder’s certificate is to confirm if a leaseholder is eligible for leaseholder protection
A leaseholder must complete a certificate if the landlord requires it due to the leaseholder selling the property or the building having a relevant defect.
The leaseholder’s certificate:
- Establishes if the leaseholder qualifies for protection under the Act.
- Makes the landlord calculate the maximum cap for historical non-cladding safety remediation costs incurred.
IF THE PROPERTY IS NOT IN A HIGHER RISK BUILDING THEN A LANDLORD AND LEASEHOLDER CERTIFICATE IS NOT REQUIRED.
For further information you may wish to look at the following which sets out how the Act will work https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-building-safety-act
For expert guidance on buying or selling property classified as a higher risk buildings, contact our residential conveyancing team by phone or email.