The Government has announced amendments to the Building Safety Bill that will mean developers pay to remove cladding, protecting leaseholders from an unfair financial burden.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) is in ongoing discussions with industry leaders, who agree that leaseholders should not pay cladding removal costs. But Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove has indicated the government will be able to block planning permission and building control sign-off on developments, effectively preventing developers from building and selling new homes.
He said “We cannot allow those who do not take building safety seriously to build homes in the future, and for those not willing to play their part they must face consequences.
We will take action to keep homes safe and to protect existing leaseholders from paying the price for bad development.”
DLUHC has said it wants responsible developers and manufacturers to operate freely and with confidence, to help deliver the homes people need. Commercial and financial consequences for those who do not act responsibly include the application of the new building safety levy to more developments, with scope for higher rates for companies who do not participate in finding a workable solution.
Cost Contribution Orders will be able to be placed on manufacturers who have been successfully prosecuted under construction products regulations. These orders will require them to pay their fair share on buildings requiring remediation. Amendments to the Bill will also allow building owners and landlords to take legal action against manufacturers who used defective products on a home since found unfit for habitation. The power will stretch back 30 years and allow recovery where costs have already been paid out.
Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove said:
“These measures will stop building owners passing all costs on to leaseholders and make sure any repairs are proportionate and necessary for their safety.
All industry must play a part, instead of continuing to profit whilst hardworking families struggle.”
New government amendments to the Bill include the commitment made by the Levelling Up Secretary in the House of Commons in January, that no leaseholder living in their own home (or sub-letting in a building over 11m) ever pays a penny for the removal of dangerous cladding. If passed by Parliament, these clauses will reduce the invoices that have been sent to leaseholders for taking down cladding. They also go further than the package previously outlined, through protecting leaseholders on non-cladding costs.
The full government press release is available on .gov.uk and all amendments to the Building Safety Bill are available on the Parliament website (under ‘Amendment Paper’). The Bill’s House of Lords Committee stage is scheduled to begin on 21 February 2022.