Clause 106 - Application by special measures manager for order under section 24 of Landlord and Tenant Act 1987

Building Safety Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 19th October 2021.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller Conservative, Basingstoke

With this it will be convenient to discuss clauses 107 and 108 stand part.

Photo of Eddie Hughes Eddie Hughes Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

Clause 106 amends the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 to enable a special measures manager to make an application to the first-tier tribunal for the appointment of a manager under section 24 of the Act. That will ensure that the special measures provisions of the Bill operate effectively with the existing landlord and tenant legislation for occupied higher-risk buildings.

Section 24 of the Act enables tenants to apply for a manager to take over the management of a building where the landlord is failing to manage the building properly. When a building is in special measures, we want to give the special measures manager the same right to ensure that they can replace any incompetent or unco-operative manager. The clause sets out the procedural steps that the special measures manager must take, by amending section 24 of the Act, including notifying persons such as the landlords, the tenants and the accountable person.

The clause also specifies the circumstances in which an application by the special measures manager can be made: the current landlord or manager must be in breach of an obligation owed to the special measures manager, detailed in the special measures order; and it must be just and convenient to do so. The tribunal can also make the order where there is no breach but it is satisfied that such other circumstances exist that it is just and convenient for an order for a manager to be made.

Without the clause, the special measures manager may be compromised and unable to carry out the functions as per the special measures order. The special measures manager needs to be able to work constructively with those involved in the management of the building to ensure that the building safety risks are adequately mitigated, which the clause is an important aspect of.

Clause 107 gives the first-tier tribunal the necessary power to amend an existing order to appoint a manager for a building made under section 24 of the 1987 Act. It ensures that the special measures provision of the Bill operates effectively with the existing landlord and tenant legislation for occupied higher-risk buildings. Section 24 of the Act gives certain leaseholders a right to apply for the appointment of a manager in a number of circumstances, such as when the landlord has breached their obligation under the lease. If a building is put into special measures and there is an existing section 24 manager, the tribunal may need to amend the order to ensure that the manager’s functions do not overlap with those of the special measures manager.

The clause also limits the section 24 order when a special measures order is in force for the building. A section 24 order may not provide for those fire and structural safety functions detailed in the special measures order. For example, a circumstance may arise where an accountable person has repeatedly failed to fulfil their duties under part 4 of the Bill. The Building Safety Regulator would then apply to the first-tier tribunal to appoint a special measures manager for the building. Proper management of a building and its safety risks is pivotal to the safety of the residents who occupy it. This provision ensures clarity and certainty with regard to the management of the building, and avoids confusion with regard to the responsibilities and duties between the respective managers.

Clause 108 is non-controversial and wholly procedural, and complements the provision of clause 103. It gives the first-tier tribunal the necessary power to provide directions to the special measures manager, or any other such person, to carry out actions to ensure that the special measures order is complied with. The direction would be given as a result of an application for such by the Building Safety Regulator, an accountable person or the special measures manager.

An application can be made in respect of any function relating to the exercise of the special measures manager’s functions and any incidental or ancillary matter. An example of this might include directing the special measures manager to arrange building insurance upon application by the Building Safety Regulator after it discovers that the building is uninsured.

The provision is important to ensure that the first-tier tribunal has adequate jurisdiction in relation to the special measures regime. It is also important for the safety and proper management of a building. As with the previous example, the lack of insurance on a building would be a serious failing that would need remedying expediently. The tribunal should rightly be able to direct the special measures manager to rectify such an issue.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 106 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 107 and 108 ordered to stand part of the Bill.