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Building safety support gaps ‘jeopardise housing market’ – warning

A senior peer has vowed to do more to ensure that leaseholders excluded from new building safety regulations get the support they need so they can sell or refinance their homes.

An amendment to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill was put forward in the House of Lords this week by the Earl of Lytton to establish a Building Safety Remediation Scheme (NSRS) that would have ensured repair costs focus on the individuals responsible for building safety risks arising from non-compliant products or construction practices. 

The scheme would be funded through a levy on the construction industry and would apply to buildings of all heights, not just those over 11 metres tall, as cladding protections currently do.
The amendment didn’t make it to a vote during a House of Lords committee stage of the legislation this week and was withdrawn, much to the disappointment of Lord Lytton.
He told Estate Agent Today: “This is a matter of great importance affecting hundreds of thousands of innocent people in their own homes. 


“Not only do I think it threatens them but is also jeopardises the wider market and its financing. The refusal of the government at committee stage of the Levelling Up Bill to give any indication that it either recognises the wider problem or is prepared to tackle it comprehensively, merely means that I and other peers need to continue to press for changes.”

He vowed to return to this subject at the report stage of the Bill, adding: “I worry that the voices of those like the hundreds of non-qualified leaseholders who have emailed me, have been under-represented and that if there was a solid, loud and coherent message from them and a high profile champion, the Government might  even now be obliged to move on the issue of better protections for leaseholders. Many of them feel thoroughly messed around and cannot afford to wait any longer for a solution whilst for some it is already too late.”

Lord Lytton, previously a chartered surveyor, said during the debate, “Correspondents tell me that the Government’s remediation scheme is not working for them and that there is confusion about the process, qualifying interests and building height calculation, with gridlock until all the complex arrangements are in place. 

“The most frequent comment is that owners are still locked into unsaleable properties with waking watch and massive insurance costs, as well as high remediation bills in prospect without any early or firm date for resolution. 

“I now learn that many conveyancers may even be reluctant to take on work involving buildings over 11 metres high because of the complexity and professional risks that face them.”

But responding to the amendment on Monday evening, Baroness Scott of Bybrook, who is Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, said the views of the independent experts are that “there is no systematic risk” in buildings under 11 metres.

She added: “However, we continue to look at these on a case-by-case basis and provide any help to those leaseholders accordingly.”

  • Rob Hailstone

    “I now learn that many conveyancers may even be reluctant to take on work involving buildings over 11 metres high because of the complexity and professional risks that face them.”

    Published yesterday: Conveyancing Association launch new Building Safety Act and Building Safety (Leaseholder Protections) Guidance

    Available via the CA website. Might be of use to your conveyancer contacts.

  • icon

    so they do not trust themselves to do the job properly

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