Home Business Insights & Advice A guide to the building safety act for property sellers

A guide to the building safety act for property sellers

by Sarah Dunsby
27th Jun 24 3:37 pm

As a property seller, and if the property you are looking to sell falls under the new Building Safety Act, you will be aware that your obligations are significant when it comes to conveyancing. This guide will take you through the key requirements and processes step-by-step to make sure you are fully prepared when it comes to selling your property. We will cover what the Act means for you as a seller, the information you must provide, the safety documentation required, timing considerations, and how to avoid delays or obstacles during the conveyancing process. Having a solid understanding of your duties under the building safety act conveyancing process will help you make it both a smooth and efficient when the time comes to sell your property.

What is the Building Safety Act?

The Building Safety Act is a new piece of legislation aimed at capping the remedial costs incurred by Leaseholders where the building requires substantial remedial works to comply with safety regulations. This Act has been in the making since the tragic Grenfell Tower disaster. As a property seller, understanding this act is crucial if your building falls under its scope.

Potential impact on property sales

As a property seller, the Building Safety Act may affect your ability to sell if your building falls within its scope. Fundamentally, as a result of the Act, the idea is that leaseholders should be responsible for paying the whole cost of remedial work for historical safety defects (such as cladding) has been removed in principle. This has meant that thousands of property owners who have been unable to sell their leasehold flats can now finally do so.

However, as with most things in law, a few conditions apply.

To benefit from the protection, you need to be a qualifying leaseholder, in a relevant building with a qualifying defect.

Express Conveyancing’s expert panel of conveyancing solicitors can guide you through the building safety act conveyancing process, ensuring you meet all necessary obligations. Their fast and straightforward conveyancing services can help facilitate a smooth property sale, ensuring compliance with the new regulations.

Which buildings fall under the Building Safety Act?

For leaseholders to benefit from the Act, there are a number of criteria which must be met. These are as follows:

  • It must be over 11 metres in height or have more than five floors.
  • It must contain at least two dwellings.
  • It must not be owned by you as the leaseholder.

This is in addition to the fact that the seller (or the original seller when the property was sold following the enactment of the Act) was a qualifying tenant as details above.

It is also worth noting that applying the above criteria, it may not be eligible if the building is run by a residents’ management company.

Building safety regulator

A new national Building Safety Regulator has been established to oversee the Act’s implementation. This regulatory body has robust powers to:

  • Raise building safety standards across the industry
  • Ensure compliance with new regulations
  • Impose sanctions on those failing to meet requirements

As a property seller, understanding the buildings regulated under this Act is crucial. Express Conveyancing’s expert solicitors can advise you on your obligations and guide you through the conveyancing process, ensuring full compliance with the Building Safety Act.

Key requirements for sellers under the Building Safety Act

The primary requirement of a seller when selling a property under the circumstances is largely to obtain a Landlord Certificate which answers two broad questions; a. has a group net worth of over £2 million times the number of relevant buildings in the landlord’s group (the “net worth test”); and b. was (or an associated company was) responsible for relevant defects (the “developer test”).

The answer to these questions determine if the landlord of a qualifying lease can claim the cost of remediation costs through service charge payments. This Certificate is most likely going to be required by the buyer’s conveyancing solicitor and their mortgage lender before they will be willing to proceed with purchasing or lending against the property.

The process of obtaining such a landlord certificate begins with a tenant issuing a Leaseholder Deed of Certificate to the landlord. This certificate which will provide the permanent record as to how the flat was owned or occupied on 14 February, 2022, which is the critical reference date for the purposes of Schedule 8. As its name suggests, the document has to be executed as a deed. It is also, largely, a self-certification exercise, in which the leaseholder answers a number questions which will enable the landlord to assess whether the particular lease qualifies or not.

How can Express Conveyancing help?

At Express Conveyancing, our expert panel of solicitors are well-versed in dealing with properties falling under the the Building Safety Act and its implications for property transactions. We can guide you through the process, ensuring you meet all legal requirements and provide the necessary documentation to potential buyers.

Our efficient and streamlined conveyancing services minimise delays, ensuring a smooth and compliant sale of your property under the new regulations.

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