Six weeks for developers to sign contract to fix unsafe buildings.

Today (30 January) the Government have announced they are giving housing developers six weeks to sign a contract requiring them to fix unsafe buildings and reimburse taxpayers or face significant consequences – protecting leaseholders from unfair and crippling costs.

Legislation will be brought forward in the spring giving the Secretary of State powers to prevent developers from operating freely in the housing market if they fail to sign and comply with the remediation contract.

Under the contract developers will commit an estimated £2 billion or more for repairs to buildings they developed or refurbished over the past 30 years. This means that together with the Building Safety Levy industry is directly paying an estimated £5 billion to make their buildings safe.

The contract also requires developers to reimburse taxpayers where public money has been used to fix unsafe buildings.

Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, said:

“Today marks another significant step towards righting the wrongs of the past and protecting innocent leaseholders, who are trapped in their homes and facing unfair and crippling costs.

“Too many developers, along with product manufacturers and freeholders, have profited from these unsafe buildings and have a moral duty to do the right thing and pay for their repair.

“In signing this contract, developers will be taking a big step towards restoring confidence in the sector and providing much needed certainty to all concerned.

“There will be nowhere to hide for those who fail to step up to their responsibilities – I will not hesitate to act and they will face significant consequences.”

Harrogate and Knaresborough MP, Andrew Jones, said “Everyone deserves to live in home which is free from potential hazards and I am pleased that the Government is taking action to protect leaseholders from bearing the costs of making their homes safe.

“Although I don’t know of any buildings in our area that are directly affected I have been contacted by many constituents who have family who are living in accommodation requiring work. Many of these properties have already been made safe and I hope that this deadline will ensure the funding is in place to complete the job.”

Under legislation to be brought forward this spring a Responsible Actors Scheme (RAS) will be created allowing the Secretary of State to block developers who have not signed the contract or failed to comply with its terms from carrying out development and from receiving building control approval.

This will prevent them from operating as normal in the housing market for as long as they do not resolve the problems of the past.