31 March 2023
In February, the government opened a consultation on statutory guidance and policy proposals for legislation that would create a duty for landlords to take reasonable steps to ensure that all alternative avenues of cost recovery have been explored before passing remediation costs on to leaseholders.
They asked for views on proposals for:
Housing associations’ first priority is the safety of their residents and in recent years, the sector has been working to urgently replace unsafe cladding, carry out in-depth safety checks and put in place interim safety measures where necessary to ensure resident safety. The NHF and our members are committed to doing everything we can to ensure a tragedy like the fire at Grenfell Tower can never happen again. We have welcomed the government’s proposals for an overhaul of the building safety regulatory system and a more stringent higher risk regime, and we contributed our expertise and experience to Dame Hackitt’s review that set out the need for these.
Leaseholders should not have to pay for works that have been caused by a systemic failure of building regulations. We support the government’s announcement that those responsible – developers, contractors and manufacturers – should make a major contribution to funding the safety work needed. We therefore welcome this consultation and agree with the principle of the government’s proposals to create a duty for landlords to take reasonable steps to ensure that all alternative avenues of cost recovery have been explored before passing remediation costs on to leaseholders.
We have some concerns that the proposals, and the underlying requirements for applying to the Building Safety Fund, will cause delays to building safety works, particularly where housing associations do not have the financial capacity to begin remediation works across all affected buildings without having alternative funding guaranteed. We also believe that these proposals will not provide equal protections for all leaseholders, as buildings below 11 metres in height have been excluded.