Advice for charities: The Building Safety Act and qualifying leases

The Building Safety Act 2022 (BSA) is part of the government's answer to limit tenants' financial obligations when it comes to the safety of their own homes.

This comes in the form of a protected lease, known as a qualifying lease, that may be a valuable asset to any estate; however, the full extent of the new legislation is yet to be fully determined.

To be a qualifying lease, the lease must be a long lease of a single dwelling, granted before 14 February 2022, be the tenant's only or main home (owning no more than 2 additional dwellings in the UK) and where the leaseholder is required to pay a service charge.

If administering an estate with a qualifying leasehold property, Personal Representatives may encounter the need to provide a Deed of Certificate.

The Deed of Certificate provides a permanent record as to how the flat was owned or occupied on 14 February 2022, provides evidence that the lease is a qualifying lease, and helps leaseholders and landlords understand which protections against the cost of remedial works apply to them.

The leaseholder can complete a Deed of Certificate voluntarily at any time but must complete one within the timeframes set by the BSA if requested by the landlord (i.e., because they are selling the property or there is a relevant defect).

If the leaseholder does not complete the Deed of Certificate their lease will not benefit from the protections (predominantly against remediation costs) under the BSA.

Landlords must also complete a certificate which, amongst other things, contains information about how much the landlord is entitled to charge for building safety works.

No doubt, the marketability of a qualifying lease will be more competitive than those which suffer a relevant defect, but which fall outside the BSA.

If your charity is a PR and encounters a property which you think falls within the BSA, get in touch with our Charity Property team and we can assist you with this new and complex legislation.

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