On 28 June, the Building Safety Act 2022 came into force. The RICS recently shared with its members a letter from Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, sent to Andrew Bulmer (Chief Executive Officer of The Property Institute), and Melanie Leech (Chief Executive of British Property Foundation), highlighting these paragraphs of importance, with reference to managing agents and the new leaseholder protection provisions :
“The law as it previously stood allowed your members to charge all leaseholders for the full cost of all necessary remediation work. That has led to a situation where managing agents and freeholders are sending people invoices for hundreds of thousands of pounds that would bankrupt families and leave leaseholders facing financial ruin. Those days are now over, and the Act means qualifying leaseholders can thankfully dispose of these invoices.
I am concerned by some reports that agents are attempting to continue to send invoices to leaseholders that would violate the Building Safety Act protections, which will apply retrospectively. It is important to be clear – from tomorrow, anyone who chooses to breach the statutory protections will be committing a criminal offence. Individuals involved in such criminal activity could face up to 10 years in prison, in addition to the consequences for their companies. Criminal exploitation of leaseholders will be treated as a matter of the utmost seriousness.”
RICS reminded members:
RICS has a Building Safety Act information centre which provides links to helpful documents and the answers to frequently asked questions. Please take the time to ensure you are familiar with, and complying with, the requirements of the Act. In addition, you can access the RICS Service Charge Residential Management Code here - Service Charge Residential Management Code, 3rd Edition (rics.org).
We recommend that if you have any concerns about this or any other aspects of the Act that you seek independent legal advice.