MPs reject amendment to protect leaseholders from remedial fire safety costs

by: Mary-Anne Bowring/Development Finance Today

The latest amendment to the Fire Safety Bill, aimed at protecting leaseholders from remedial fire safety costs, has been rejected in parliament.

The amendment requested by the House of Lords stated that the owner of a building would not be able to pass the costs of any remedial work that exceeds £500 attributable to the provisions of the act on to leaseholders or tenants of that building, unless the leaseholder is also the owner or part owner of the freehold of the building. The House of Commons rejected the change on the basis of the issue of remediation costs being too complex to be dealt with in the manner proposed. Despite this, Royal Assent for the Fire Safety Bill is expected to take place on 29th April.

The Fire Safety Bill was brought forward to ensure that people feel safe in their homes following the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017. The next step in the government’s plans to improve building and fire safety is the Building Safety Bill, the draft of which has already been published for consultation and scrutiny before being introduced formally to parliament. The draft Building Safety Bill aims to protect leaseholders and tenants from paying for fire safety measures and make the government and developers liable for the costs. The Bill also suggests the creation of a Building Safety Regulator to oversee the safety and standard of all buildings, directly assure the safety of higher-risk buildings and improve the competence of people responsible for managing and overseeing building work.

However, according to Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director at Ringley, the issues of cost and liability could take up to two years to pass into law. “This situation cannot possibly be allowed to continue,” added Mary-Anne. “Each day, leaseholders are facing unaffordable bills, rapidly escalating insurance premiums and unbearable stress. “Something needs to happen and fast but, at the moment, it is hard to see where the help that leaseholders so badly need might come from.”


Lease Extension, FH and Right to Manage

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