Building Safety Bulletin July 2021

Proving the old adage ‘stars that burn twice as bright, burn half as long’ firmly wrong, the infamous Building Safety Bill continued to dominate the media landscape this month. The Bill had its first reading at the start of July, gaining mixed reviews. Once the typical procedural pomp of the first reading was out of the way, the media could grab its popcorn and settle in to the lively second reading.   While the country’s politicians landed verbal blows on one another in Parliament, leaseholders continued to battle with remediation costs and EWS1 forms in the real world. As if remediation bills aren’t enough to deal with, residents of New

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Building Safety Bulletin June 2021

Building Safety Bulletin June 2021 You may have noticed a bright green hue emanating from your neighbour’s windows on the evening of Monday 14th this past month. This was in commemoration of the fourth anniversary of the tragic Grenfell Tower fire. Virtual events were held nationwide and as usual, the opposition wasted no time in using the anniversary as an opportunity to highlight the government’s inadequacies. The Building Safety Bill also proved its star-power once again as it continued to grab headlines this month. Inside Housing reported that nearly half of applications to the government’s Building Safety Fund from social landlords (councils and

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Building Safety Bulletin May 2021

It has been an interesting month in the media for building safety, not least following the recent passing of the highly anticipated Fire Safety Bill. The government may have been hoping that the dust would settle quickly, but the opposition has had other ideas. Media outlets of all shapes and sizes have not held back on their criticism of the government, accusing them of betraying leaseholders and leaving innocent people to pick up the bills. You have may missed the Queen’s speech – it was a more subdued affair this year owing to the ongoing pandemic. Among the 26 Bills

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Cladding: ‘They will not forget; and they will not forgive’

Opinions may vary regarding Robert Jenrick’s announcement on further funding for cladding remediation work earlier this month. However, I think it’s fair to say that ‘widespread condemnation’ was the overwhelming response from media outlets up and down the country. Front pages were splashed with the words ‘betrayal’, ‘anger’ and ‘laughable’. Even backbench Conservative MPs broke ranks to criticise the government. It’s hard to recall any other government announcement receiving quite such a hostile reaction. Why is everyone so angry? Simply put, the further £3.5bn announced earlier this month doesn’t go anywhere near far enough. The House of Commons’ Housing, Communities

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Last call for leaseholds?

The Background The Law Commission published three reports earlier in July 2020 which set out a series of proposals to reform the leasehold system in England and Wales. The Law Commission was asked to look into the issue of leasehold reform by the government after former communities secretary Sajid Javid promised (in 2017) to make extending leases and purchasing a freehold ‘much easier, faster and cheaper.’ The leasehold system has been criticised for many years, but most recently for the ‘ground rent scandal’, where homeowners had unwittingly bought homes with ground rents which would double every ten years, making them almost impossible

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Paving the way for the future of planning

Long-awaited reforms to the planning system in England were finally unveiled on 6 August. While previous housing secretaries, of which there have been many, have merely tinkered with the edges, Robert Jenrick’s efforts appear to be about to turn the system on its head. The glossy 43-page consultation document, ‘Planning for the Future’ certainly contains proposals which should be welcomed, such as bringing the process of community engagement kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Jenrick wants to move away from laminated signs hastily affixed to lampposts and statutory notices at the back of local newspapers (which everyone has stopped

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