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Propertymark calls for ‘clarification and further’ action on leaseholder protections

  • 14/08/2023
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Propertymark calls for ‘clarification and further’ action on leaseholder protections
Propertymark has written to Baroness Scott of Bybrook OBE, parliamentary undersecretary of the department of levelling up housing and communities (DLUHC), to consider solutions to loopholes that could lead to leaseholders bearing the cost for building remediation.

In the letter, Nathan Emerson (pictured), Propertymark’s chief executive, said that “leaseholders should never cover the costs for remediation works since we do not see a scenario where they would be responsible for a building safety defect, unless the building is leaseholder owned”.

He said that it understood that buildings over 11 metres in height were “most at risk of structural damage and loss of life in the event of a fire” but that they were not protected, even if there was flammable cladding present in the building.

Emerson added that freeholders were already refusing leaseholder protections based on height or number of storeys of the building.

He added that leaseholders needed further protection beyond 14 February 2022, with some developers reportedly offering extending leases, which would remove leaseholder protections.

When the Building Safety Act came into force last year, to become a qualifying leaseholder a property had to be above 11 metres and on 14 February had to be the main home, and the leaseholder could own no more than three dwellings.

Leaseholders could qualify if the property was bought since 14 February but either of the two points above had to be the case on that date, according to the Leasehold Advisory Service.

“We ask how this is acceptable and in the best interests of leaseholders, when it goes against the fundamental aims of leaseholder protections,” Emerson noted.

He also asked how a programme such as the Building Safety Remediation Scheme “would not represent better value for money for leaseholders and taxpayers”.


‘Ombudsman-style service needed’

Emerson said that it the Building Safety Scheme would cost £100m, which he said was “immensely overinflated”, that would not even be two per cent of the total funding allocated to the Cladding Safety Scheme.

“Leaseholders would also benefit from greater protections, with an Ombudsman-style service where leaseholders have the ability to raise concerns if protections have been illegally taken away, or where legally binding decisions can be enforced to ensure leaseholders do not pay any remediation costs,” he added.

Emerson called for clarification on how the Cladding Safety Scheme would prevent developers from passing remediation costs to leaseholders, what recourse there would be for developers who pass on costs to leaseholders and what plans the DLUHC had on the limitations of the current leaseholder protections.


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