Property Insights: Building safety & the compulsory registration of high-rise buildings - Boodle Hatfield

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06 Jul 2023

Property Insights: Building safety & the compulsory registration of high-rise buildings

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Sarah Rock View profile
3 min read

The provisions of the Building Safety Act will have a significant impact on the construction and occupation of residential buildings. 

A key provision is the requirement requiring all residential high-rise buildings, in this context buildings that are at least 18 metres high or have at least seven floors containing at least two residential units, to be registered with the newly created Building Safety Regulator by 30 September 2023.

The Health and Safety Executive have confirmed that, as at the end of May this year, over 750 properties have been registered, this leaves registration some way short of the total number of 12,500 or so buildings thought to be within scope for registration. Failure to register will be a criminal offence, punishable with a fine or imprisonment.

New buildings completed after 1 October 2023 must have a relevant completion certificate or final notice and must be registered before residents can occupy them.

The registration process should be completed by the Principal Accountable Person for each building, or someone authorised by them. A fee of £251 is payable and the applicant will be required to provide information relating to the building’s structure and fire safety measures. 

Whist the registration requirement relates only to buildings over 18 metres or seven floors, the Building Safety Act also contains significant provisions relating to ‘relevant buildings’ and ‘higher risk buildings’, brief details of which are set out below:

  • Leaseholder protection for relevant buildings: Buildings that are at least 11 metres high or have at least five floors containing at least two residential units will (save for limited exceptions) be relevant buildings for the purpose of the Building Safety Act and may, depending on the qualifying status of the lease, fall within the leaseholder protection provisions in the Act which require landlords to undertake and pay for remediation works for relevant defects in relevant buildings and may prevent the recovery of the cost of such sums from tenants via the service charge. The Developer Pledge and Developer Remediation Contracts signed by nearly 50 housing developers committing to remediate historic defects also applies to buildings of at least 11 metres or at least five floors.
  • Implied lease terms for higher-risk buildings: Buildings that are at least 18 metres high or have at least seven floors containing at least two residential units will (save for limited exceptions) be high-risk buildings for the purpose of the Building Safety Act and will be subject to additional obligations for the management of building safety risks with in the building and the recovery of the cost of complying with these obligations. These provisions are implemented by amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 with the effect that terms will be implied  into all new and existing leases of higher-risk buildings allowing landlords to recover the costs of specified building safety measures via the service charge and setting out obligations on the part of both landlord and tenant regarding building safety.

Want to know more?Property Insights where our team of experts shine a spotlight on new legal developments and offer some insights on issues that are currently shaping the property market. Access the bulletin here or download a PDF copy here. 

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“Registration is a crucial part of the new regime and our efforts to ensure residents of high-rise buildings feel protected and safe in their homes.”

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