16 July, 2021
We are continuing to keep a close eye on progression of the Building Safety Bill through Parliament. You can view our webinar discussing the main proposals of the draft Bill here. The Bill was formally introduced to Parliament on 5 July 2021 and awaits Second Reading.
Much pre-legislative consultation has taken place and last year, the Communities and Local Government Select Committee scrutinised the draft Bill. The Committee was critical that significant amounts of secondary legislation would be required once the Bill became law, to put its intentions into practical effect. For example, the Bill omitted key definitions including classification of "high-risk buildings".
The Bill was also criticised for proposing an implied covenant requiring long leaseholders of dwellings in high-risk buildings to contribute towards the costs of implementing building safety measures. The Committee was concerned that this would mean leaseholders would be faced with bills for removing unsafe cladding and remedying other historic defects.
The government has now responded to the Committee and agreed to include as much detail as possible in the Bill whilst maintaining delegated powers to respond to any emerging building safety risks through secondary legislation. In response to concerns over recharging leaseholder's costs for remedying historic defects, the government announced plans to extend the limitation period for certain claims under section 1 of the Defective Premises Act 1972 from 6 years to 15 years. This will have retrospective effect, backdated to 15 years from when the Bill becomes an Act. However, we think this will offer little assurance to leaseholders of blocks where the developer company no longer exists. It also intends to bring section 38 of the Building Act 1984 into force, which would introduce civil liability for breach of a duty imposed by building regulations causing damage. The same problem exists though where the developer is no longer around.
There is still much clarification awaited from government and we will continue to track progress of the Bill.
For more information contact Emily Jordan in our Housing & Regeneration department via email or phone on 0333 207 1130. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.