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Housing announcement includes leasehold reform and Building Safety

27 July 2023

On 24 July, the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities set out further plans for regeneration, inner-city densification, and housing delivery across England.

The Secretary of State also highlighted plans for leasehold reform saying:

“…We want to ensure that those who have paid for their home by acquiring a leasehold can finally truly own their own home by becoming free of an outdated feudal regime which has been holding them back.

So, we will continue action on exploitative ground rents, expand leaseholder’ ability to enfranchise – and to take back control from distant freeholders we will reduce punitive legal service charges, reduce insurance costs – and improve transparency.

All in new legislation to be in the King’s Speech.”

Building Safety was addressed, with the Government:

  1. Confirming the intention to mandate second staircases in new residential buildings above 18m, following confirmation from expert bodies that they support this threshold. This responds to the call from the sector for coherence and certainty. DLUHC will work rapidly with industry and regulators over the summer to design transitional arrangements with the aim of securing the viability of projects which are already underway, avoiding delays where there are other more appropriate mitigations.
  2. Opening the Cladding Safety Scheme to all eligible buildings, ensuring that no leaseholder will be out of pocket to fix dangerous cladding in medium or high-rise buildings.

The Secretary of State said:

“In the aftermath of the Grenfell fire, the market for many properties in our cities froze because of the fire-safety issues which had gone unaddressed for years. That meant that householders were in the terrible position where they could not sell their homes until they had a commitment that remediation would be undertaken.

We took decisive steps to unfreeze the market, to protect leaseholders, to get developers to pay for that remediation and to prompt lenders to start offering mortgages on those properties once more.

And today we are taking further steps by opening our new Cladding Safety Scheme – and also providing much-desired clarity to builders that 18m will be the threshold that we will introduce for new buildings requiring second staircases.

And of course, there will be transitional arrangements in place to make sure that there is no disruption to housing supply.”

The Cladding Safety Scheme follows its pilot launch, in November 2022, as the Medium-Rise Scheme and aims to address historical life safety fire risks associated with cladding on medium-rise residential buildings (those 11-18m in height).

More information you might find useful:

LEASE is governed by a board, appointed as individuals by the Secretary of State for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities.