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‘Car crash’ building safety rules putting sales at risk

An estate agent is urging people selling their flats to have building safety documentation in place before putting the property on the market or risk conveyancers pulling the plug.

Andrew Simmonds, who runs estate agencies in North Bristol and the Cotswolds and is director of The Experts in Property network, says sellers and agents need to take the initiative due to the “car crash” of the Building Safety Act.

The Act creates a Building Safety Regulator to oversee and monitor construction and standards, while an accountable person such as a landlord or freeholder will be responsible for monitoring resident safety and will be responsible for repairs.


But Simmonds said the complexities of the Building Safety Act are making solicitors nervous about taking on any flat or leasehold property for fear of getting it wrong and not wanting to risk their professional indemnity.

Landlords and freeholders are also prohibited from recouping the costs of cladding remediation from leaseholders in a service charge but this only applies to buildings above 11m high.

The Act requires that a flat has a deed of certificate that confirms whether they are eligible for the leaseholder protections. 

He said: “The legislation could especially affect chains, where a single leasehold property negatively impacted by requirements of the Act could derail the whole chain of transactions.

“There is a fear in some quarters, we could see more and more transactions getting bogged down or collapse completely in the coming weeks and months.

“Anyone thinking of selling their flat should request a leasehold information pack or ‘replies to LPE1 enquiries’ pack from the managing agent or freeholder.

“This process can take anywhere from one week to six weeks, or maybe even months, depending on the responsiveness of the freeholder or the managing agent. 

“Landlords will often charge a fee for answering inquiries which could be anything from £150 to £500.”

He warned some people may find it impossible to get the necessary information from the freeholder at all, leaving them in limbo unable to sell their property.

  • Rob Hailstone

    The Building Safety Act 2022 is one of the most confusing (and badly drafted) pieces of property-related legislation I have seen in my near 50-year career. It can relate to properties that are 11meters (or five storeys), and ‘higher risk buildings’ that are 18 meters (or 7 storeys). The UK finance Handbook has confused matters even more by implying that all leasehold properties are affected by the BSA. This is not correct and a number of conveyancers are waiting for the Handbook to be updated. Some conveyancers have genned up on the BSA and will act, some have genned up and won’t yet act, and some are still acting knowing very little or nothing about the BSA. Some changes (improvements) to the BSA are being made by Secondary Legislation and some will need Primary Legislation.

    I would suggest that if you are selling a BSA affected leasehold property for someone, you find a conveyancer to act who understands the BSA before a buyer has ben found.

    It is currently the most discussed topic on the Bold Legal Group’s online forum, and whilst I am no expert myself would be happy to try to find answers to any questions EAT readers may have. You can contact me via the Bold Legal Group website.

  • icon

    Blimey at last something I agree with from Rob

  • Rob Hailstone

    Happy days Jan:)

  • Samantha Sullivan

    I've had an ESW1 through, 84 pages long.


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