Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities written question – answered on 21st March 2023.
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent estimate he has made of the number of buildings of all heights which still require fire safety remediation work.
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, by what date are developers who have signed the Developer Self-Remediation contract expected to complete remediation work on the buildings for which they are responsible.
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 20 February 2023 to Question 141467, whether he has had discussions with (a) valuers, (b) lenders and (c) insurers on their willingness to accept the standard of remediation as per the definition of relevant defects in the Developer Self-Remediation contract as having entirely eliminated all impairment when (i) calculating property values, (ii) proposing mortgage terms and (iii) underwriting buildings insurance on buildings which have been remediated.
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including (a) manufacturers and (b) suppliers of (i) cladding, (ii) insulation, (iii) smoke ventilation systems, (iv) fire doors and (v) other faulty building safety components as funding contributors in the remediation waterfall system, with a greater weight of responsibility to meet remediation costs than leaseholders.
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of adopting the approach of the Irish government to building safety, by funding all required fire safety remediation directly.
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the response by the Permanent Secretary to Q99 of the oral evidence session of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee, HC962, on 9 January 2023, if he will quantify the term 'vanishingly small tail' as it relates to the number of leaseholders who will be liable to pay fire safety remediation costs.
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to develop a system of support for leaseholders who do not qualify for protection from costs under the current Developer Self-Remediation contract, including (a) residents in buildings less than 11 metres in height, (b) leaseholders who also own a share of a freehold and (c) leaseholders who own three or more properties.
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the necessity for ACM cladding to be removed from buildings of all heights, in the context of the decision in December 2022 to prohibit its use on all new buildings as a result of safety concerns.
Further to the statement made by my Right Hon Friend the Secretary of State, I refer to information set out in the Building Safety Programme data release and relating to the Building Safety Fund can be found here, as well as to this estimate relating to mid-rise residential buildings.
The time it will take to remediate a building will depend on the work that needs to be carried out.
The developer remediation contract requires signatories to assess and remediate or mitigate life-critical fire safety risks caused by the original design, construction or refurbishment in buildings for which they are responsible. 42 developers have signed the contract and the value of the works covered by the contract will be at least £2 billion. Signatories are required to keep both the department and affected residents apprised of the progress of remediation works. The Government will monitor developers' performance closely and act if necessary.
Leaseholders in buildings above 11 metres or five storeys are protected from all historical safety remediation costs if their landlord is, or is associated with, the developer; they will also benefit from qualifying status for their principal residence if it is in such a building. In addition, remediation contribution orders enable leaseholders in relevant buildings to attempt to recover remediation costs, whatever the qualifying status of the leaseholder.
We are aware of a very small number of buildings under 11 metres where expensive remediation is proposed. We have written to freeholders and managing agents in affected buildings to make sure proposed works are necessary and proportionate.
The Government has committed £5.1 billion to remediating cladding safety defects in England. Where industry has a responsibility, they should contribute.
Enforcement provisions have been included in the Building Safety Act to ensure that those who are liable to pay under leaseholder protections do so. Relevant authorities have the power to compel responsible entities to fund and undertake the necessary remediation work. The new Recovery Strategy Unit will also pursue firms who do not live up to their responsibilities.
The Act also creates a new cause of action which allows manufacturers of construction products to be pursued through the courts where defective or mis-sold products have been incorporated in a dwelling, and that has caused or contributed to a dwelling being unfit for habitation.
Further, Section 133 of the Act (once in force) will place a duty on landlords to take reasonable steps to explore alternative cost recovery avenues before asking leaseholders to contribute to defined remediation works - this will include pursuing third parties in connection with the remediation works.
On 20 December, the six largest mortgage lenders confirmed that they will lend on buildings in England of 11 metres and above in height with building safety issues where the building is covered by the developer self-remediation contract. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) and their members have stated premiums should reduce where buildings have completed remediation or where there is a reduction in risk.
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