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Michael Gove has secured the signatures of the country’s biggest housebuilders on the developer remediation contract, a major step toward ending the building safety scandal.
Thirty-nine developers including the top ten biggest housebuilders in the UK all put pen to paper on the legally binding document before yesterday’s deadline and irreversibly committed themselves to fix unsafe buildings they developed or refurbished.
Signatories represent a substantial proportion of the housing market, and the signed agreements will raise at least £2 billion for remediation costs.
This will come as a welcome relief for the thousands of innocent leaseholders and tenants whose homes are covered by the contract. Developers will be legally bound to pay to fix their unsafe buildings and eligible developers who fail to sign will not be able to operate freely in the housing market.
Following the contract deadline passing, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, said
“I have been clear all along, those that are responsible for this crisis must pay. So, I am grateful to those developers who have done the right thing today by signing this legally binding contract. We will be monitoring their progress on remediation very closely, to ensure this work is completed urgently and safely. For those developers that have taken responsibility, today offers the chance for a reset, so we can get on and build more of the safe, decent and affordable homes we so desperately need.
“To those developers that have failed to sign the contract without good reason, let me be very clear, we are coming after you. If you do not sign, you will not be able to operate freely in the housing market. Your investors will see that your business model is broken, only responsible developers are welcome here.
“But today should not be about developers, or about government. Today is about innocent leaseholders. I want to put on record my apology to all leaseholders for the years of misery and hardship you have endured. You should never have been ignored, asked to pay and let down.
“Today marks a turning point and an important step towards resolving this crisis. There is so much more to do, but I will always act to protect leaseholders and end this injustice.”
Signatories are required to fix all life-critical fire-safety defects in all English buildings over 11 metres they had a role in developing or refurbishing. It also requires them to reimburse the taxpayer where government funds have already paid for remediation, with that money being used to make other buildings safe faster.
For developers who have signed, their obligations start immediately. Leaseholders will benefit from a common framework of rights and responsibilities that will get their buildings fixed without them having to pay, and developers will be required to inform residents in affected buildings how they will be meeting these commitments.
The Government will publish further information next week on how developers will be prohibited from carrying out major development or from receiving building control approval unless they sign and adhere to the contract, using Building Safety Act 2022 powers.
Regulations will establish the Responsible Actors Scheme and set out the criteria for eligibility and the conditions of membership. Eligible developers who do not sign the contract will not be able to join the Scheme and will be subject to the prohibitions.
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07 December 2023
30 November 2023