The Building Safety Bill

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The Building Safety Bill has just been published. This is a brief overview of the Bill. As readers will know, the Bill is the cornerstone of the government’s response to the Grenfell Tower fire. The Bill’s provisions largely reflect those of the draft Bill that was published last July.

However, key differences include:

  •  Provisions extending the limitation period for claims by residents against builders to 15 years. This will be achieved by amending the Defective Premises Act 1972 and the Limitation Act 1980. These provisions were not in the draft Bill and will apply retrospectively making them very controversial.
  •  A new levy that will be imposed on a developer seeking permission to develop high-rise buildings in England (Gateway 2 levy). The Gateway 2 levy was originally announced by the government in February 2021 and will operate separately from its UK-wide residential property developer tax (RPDT).
  •  Changes to a landlord’s right to recoup the cost of remedial work from tenants. The Bill contains additional safeguards protecting tenants from the landlord’s general right to recoup the cost of remedial works by way of the service charge, although it is unclear whether this will alleviate tenants’ liability to pay for recladding works, waking watch etc. This lack of clarity is surprising because when the government pushed through the Fire Safety Act 2021 through Parliament without backbench amendments protecting tenants against the cost of recladding works etc, it stated that the issue was more suited for inclusion in the Building Safety Bill. The protection to be afforded to residents will be subject to fierce debate during the Bill’s passage through Parliament.

Needless to say that the Bill represents an important development for all those involved in planning, construction, property management, property-related dispute resolution, residential development taxation and health and safety.

Further updates will follow.

 

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