A range of new measures and guidelines have been published as part of the Act, which will make buildings and residents safer. In this article we explain what the new legislation means for residents.
What is an Accountable Person?
As part of new government regulations, every building must now have an Accountable Person. They are the landlord or building owners who has legal responsibility to manage the fire and structural safety of their buildings.
How will residents be involved in the safety of their building?
Customers will have more say on the management of their building through resident engagement which includes webinars and individual meetings. If residents feel their concerns are not being listened to, they can raise concerns directly with the new Building Safety Regulator.
A new Homes Ombudsman can also help with disputes that homeowners may have with their building’s developer or landlord.
What is the Building Safety Regulator?
A new Building Safety regulator (BSR) has been put in place to oversee owners of higher-risk buildings carrying out their building safety responsibilities. These are laid out in the Building Safety Act 2022. This regulator will be run by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
It will work closely with other regulators, as well as services including the Fire Brigade and building control organisations to:
- Oversee the safety of all buildings
- Improve standards in the housing industry
- Deliver the new regulatory framework, which are a set of requirements they must deliver, for tall buildings
- Inspect buildings and issue fines where required
The landlord is responsible for ensuring that all tall buildings are registered with the Building Safety Regulator by October 2023. The landlord must also demonstrate that the building safety risks have been assessed and be able to provide all the relevant documentation.
Leaseholders protected from cladding remediation costs
Building owners are now legally prevented from charging leaseholders for any costs relating to the removal or remediation of external cladding. The government’s Building Safety Fund is available to fund cladding remediation on qualifying buildings 18m and over. Developers are expected to repair buildings between 11m and 18m in height they built.
What about non cladding costs?
For non-cladding works, such as insulation, fire breaks and compartmentalisation work, the law seeks to make developers and cladding manufacturers pay. It will then move on to building owners, where they have the means to do so. Building owners who did not build the blocks but can afford to pay for the works must cover the costs of non-cladding work.
In the small number of cases, where the building owner cannot pay, leaseholders will be protected by a cap on non-cladding work. The caps are £15,000 in London and £10,000 outside the capital. Any costs paid out by leaseholders towards these fixes in the past five years will now count towards the cap, meaning some leaseholders will pay nothing more.
Fire safety in customer homes
As part of the Act, building owners and landlords have a legal duty to ensure that a fire risk assessment is carried out to identify and remove any fire risks and hazards, or to reduce these as far as possible. In rented properties, landlords are responsible for making sure resident homes meet fire safety standards. We’ve written to all our customers to let them know what to do in the event of a fire and shared the evacuation strategy for their building. We’re also making fire safety a regular topic in our resident webinars and individual meetings. This provides an opportunity for them to share concerns and ask questions.
Residents are also responsible for ensuring they don’t create a fire hazard in their home, for example by storing flammable items on their balcony, or by blocking fire escape routes.
- How to keep your home safe from fire
- Read our article new law means leaseholders won’t pay for cladding repairs for more information
- The Building Safety Act 2022
- Leaseholder Protections on Building Safety Costs: FAQs
- A plain English guide about leaseholder protections in the Building Safety Act 2022
- The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has created a 3-minute video introduction to the Building Safety Regulator