The Building Safety Act 2022 – The Law Society update for members banner

The Building Safety Act 2022 – The Law Society update for members

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The Building Safety Act 2022 was introduced in the wake of safety concerns for occupants of high-rise buildings after the 2017 Grenfell Tower tragedy. The legislation is intended to improve the design, construction and management of higher-risk buildings. It came into force from 1 April 2023. The legislation sits alongside other measures introduced in response to the Grenfell Tower inquiry, including: the Fire Safety Act 2021; valuation guidance for higher-risk buildings and changes and potential changes to the UK Finance Mortgage Lenders’ Handbook and the Building Societies Association Mortgage Instructions.

We understand why this new legislation and these changes have been causing some confusion and difficulties in the home buying and selling market, and that the complex implications of the legislation and the potential requirements it places on solicitors are significant. We have been listening to the concerns members have raised with us and our Conveyancing and Land Law Committee, which is made up of solicitors specialising in residential and commercial conveyancing practice. We share many of the concerns raised, including:

  • obligations in Part 1 and Part 2 of the UK Finance Handbook and the expectation for conveyancers to take on additional risks
  • expectations for solicitors to explain complex requirements from the legislation to lender and lay clients, which may fall outside their current expertise
  • possible implications for professional indemnity insurance (PII) availability and cost
  • referring clients to suitably qualified persons (if they can be found) will add expense and delays to the process
  • buyers' solicitors cannot verify sellers’ claims that leases qualify for leasehold protection – for example, they cannot check whether a leaseholder qualifies because they cannot check how many properties the seller or the previous seller held as at 14 February 2022

The Law Society  are in regular contact with the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), PII brokers and insurers, regulators and UK Finance to make sure your concerns are understood. We want to ensure that Law Society members are not exposed to unnecessary risk and to see that the legislation is amended to clarify the provisions which concern members.

To best inform the Law Society's ongoing discussions, they are asking conveyancers to share their experiences with the Building Safety Act. The form to provide this information can be found under ‘get in touchon our webpage – please do share this with your relevant committees and with your wider membership for their input, where appropriate.