Fire Safety Bill Amendment Bans Leaseholders Paying for Fire Safety Costs
The House of Lords has voted to support three amendments to the Fire Safety Bill which include a ban on leaseholders being forced to pay for fire safety remediation costs and implementing recommendations from Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 Report.
Baroness Pinnock proposed the amendment to ‘prevent freeholders passing on remediation costs to leaseholders and tenants, such as through demands for one-off payments or increases in service or other charges’.
The fire safety bill amendments were narrowly pushed through the house following support from Labour and Lib Dem Peers voting 269 to 250 in favour. Baroness Pinnock & Lord Shipley also proposed an amendment to establish a ‘public register of fire risk assessments’, to work in a similar fashion to the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) register, which has become an accepted part of the house buying and renting process.
The Earl of Lytton, a Chartered Surveyor and patron of the Chartered Association of Building Engineers referred to the criticism of the EWS1 form process.
He commented that he appreciated ‘the criticism of the EWS1 form, but it came about because of a particular need to do with mortgage lending. It is now being required for a much wider range of purposes, for which it was never intended. Why? Because it was the only tool available. The Government could step into this obvious void and make sure that some other form of certification solution was provided’.
Lord Greenhalgh replied that the Government are working with lenders on a more proportionate approach to fire safety risks for valuation purposes, which will benefit residents. What this will mean for the current EWS1 process remains to be seen.
For further information on EWS1 Surveys and Forms, our fact sheet can be found here.
Next Steps for the Fire Safety Bill?
The Fire Safety Bill was at the Report Stage, which gives Peers an opportunity to closely scrutinise elements of the bill and make changes. The Third reading of the Bill, which provides the final chance for any further amendments is scheduled for the 24th November.
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