Why leasehold properties are facing yet more hurdles: Building Safety Act 2022 – update October 2023

23rd October 2023

The Building Safety Act 2022 (BSA) came into effect in April 2023 with new updated regulations in October 2023.

The legislation has been introduced following the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.  It introduces protections for certain leaseholders from liability for cladding and fire-related remediation works specifically when an identified defect relates to a safety risk arising from the spread of fire, or the collapse of the building. The costs of the works can be significant. Without the reassurances that the protection afforded by the BSA apply to the lease in question, you’d need to seriously consider if you wish to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property. In any event, certain lenders will refuse to lend against properties without assurances that the protection is in place.

To have a qualifying lease, it would have been granted before 14 February 2022, and granted for more than 21 years over a single dwelling in a “relevant building” – essentially a building in England that is 11 meters tall or five storeys high and contains at least two dwellings – the tenant under the lease is liable to pay a service charge and on 14 February 2022, the dwelling would have to have been the tenant’s only or principle home, or have owned no more than three dwellings in total, regardless of whether the properties were leasehold or freehold.

The new rules about fire safety, which ensure that residents in a building receive adequate and relevant fire safety guidance for their building, came into force in October 2023 under Section 156 of the Act.

New fire safety rules

  • The person in charge of fire safety, called the Responsible Person, now has to keep a detailed record of the fire safety assessment
  • The Responsible Person must record who carries out or checks the fire safety assessment
  • They also need to show how fire safety is managed in the building
  • The Responsible Person should keep their contact information up to date and share it with others responsible for fire safety and the people living in the building if needed
  • If there are other people in charge of fire safety in the building, the Responsible Person should try to meet them
  • When the person in charge of fire safety changes, the new person should get all the important fire safety information
  • If your building has more than one home in it, the Responsible Person should give you easy-to-understand information about how to stay safe from fires
  • There will be bigger fines for certain offences, for example failing to comply with specific requirements imposed by a fire inspector
  • The government’s advice on these rules will be clearer and stronger.

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