min read

Leaseholder-owning landlords urged to fill in form or face big bills

leaseholders tower block cladding remediation

Landlords who own leasehold apartments in tower blocks are being urged to complete an official questionnaire or face being excluded from the protections afforded by the Building Safety Act (BSA).

This legislation, which became law in June 2022, is designed to protect innocent leaseholders “from the unfair burden of remediation costs to make their home safe”.

This followed the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 and the ensuing scandal over the flammable cladding fitted to thousands of other apartment blocks in the past.

But the BSA separates leaseholders into ‘qualifying’ and ‘non-qualifying’, and the latter includes those with more than three properties.

This is because the government thinks portfolio landlords are wealthy enough to pay for work to their properties to make them safe while ‘qualifying leaseholders’ are to have the work paid for by the Government or their freeholder.

But there is a grey area within the BSA that may cost some leasehold-owning landlords dearly.

A landlord who individually owns up to three properties (including their own home) will be ‘qualifying’ under the BSA as would a couple who own their principal home jointly and two rental properties each individually.

But if the same couple owned their own home and THREE other properties (or more) in joint names they would be 'non-qualifying' and would be excluded from any protections under the BSA for any leasehold properties that were not their main home.

One regional group, the Birmingham Leaseholder Action Group (BrumLAG), has revealed that a Government consultation on this issue has received very few submissions and is urging that owners, most of whom are landlords, do so before the consultation ends this Friday (5th April).

The group points out that 75% of leasehold properties in the Midlands are rented out and therefore thousands of landlords who own their properties jointly could soon face huge remediation bills unless they persuade the Government otherwise.

“This situation has been raised many times in parliament and in the House of Lords and now the government is considering taking action,” says BrumLAG. “But this action is totally dependent on the responses to their consultation document.”

Perceived issue

The consultation document explains why: “The government is continuing to monitor the impacts of the current protections and has been made aware of a perceived issue in the qualifying criteria for the protections, for people who own their principal home jointly, and additional properties jointly.

“But the department does not have any data on the number of leaseholders this issue is impacting.

“As part of the policy development, this call for evidence seeks to understand the scale of the issue, and to consider whether any changes could be proposed by the government.”

Make your voice heard – complete the Government questionnaire.


Building safety act
Building safety