In response to the Grenfell disaster, the UK Government introduced a number of Regulations and the introduction of the Building Safety Act (“the Act”), with the aim to improve the system of building safety and ensure that residents are safe in their homes.
Flats are typically part of a larger building or complex and there are often shared spaces and amenities that need to be taken into account on a sale or purchase with information provided by management companies.
The Act has introduced new considerations and requirements for flat owners looking to sell and those looking to buy flats. Whilst the Act aims to improve building safety and protect flat owners, it has led to challenges in the buying and selling process, with different interpretations of the requirements under the Act by Lenders, management companies and conveyancing firms.
The Act included such measures as a building safety regulator, building safety levy fund for the cost of remediation works, resident safety panels, a Health and Safety Executive Accountant Person. It is clear that building safety is a priority for the Government
It is important for flat owners and buyers to seek professional advice as early as possible and stay informed on the latest developments to ensure a smooth transaction.
If you own or are considering buying a flat, the key features which can make your flat fall within the remit of the Act are:-
- Solar panels or solar shading
- The building height is more than 11 metres/ 5 storeys
Flat owners will now need to consider whether under the Act they qualify as a Qualifying Leaseholder. To be deemed a qualifying leaseholder the following must be shown
- The building is more than 11 metres/5 storeys
- The lease existed prior to 14 February 2022
- The flat owner occupied as their residence
- Confirmation of the value of the flat as at 14 February 2022
It is important for flat owners to note that even if they not meet the criteria to be considered a Qualifying Leaseholder, they still have rights under the Act.
Flat owners who are investors and do not reside in the flat are not Qualifying Leaseholders and this valuable cap to service charge or exclusion if the flat’s key date valuation is less than £175,000 (£325,000 in London) under the Act is lost to a buyer, even if they intend to reside in the flat.
This will inevitably lead to delays in transactions, higher charges and difficulties for buyers and sellers in finding suitable conveyancing firms and lenders.
If you are considering selling or buying a flat, it is important to seek specialist advice from professionals with knowledge of the new requirements under the Act to help you navigate the new legal landscape.
Please do not hesitate to call the property team on 01752 246000 (Plymouth) or 01548 857000 (Kingsbridge) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org