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A total of 39 developers, including the top ten biggest housebuilders in the UK, all put pen to paper on the legally binding document before the deadline of Monday 13 March and, in doing so, irreversibly committed themselves to fix unsafe buildings which they developed or refurbished.
These signatories represent a substantial proportion of the housing market, while the signed agreements will raise at least £2 billion for remediation costs.
According to the Government, this news will come as a welcome relief for the thousands of innocent leaseholders and tenants whose homes are covered by the contract. Developers will now be legally bound to pay to fix their unsafe buildings and any eligible developers who fail to sign will not be able to operate freely in the housing market.
Progress on remediation
Following the passing of the contract deadline, Michael Gove commented: “I have been clear all along that those responsible for this crisis must pay. I’m grateful to those developers who’ve done the right thing 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, this period offers the chance for a reset such that they can focus on building more of the safe, decent and affordable homes we so desperately need.”
In addition, Gove warned: “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.”
Further, the Secretary of State noted: “This day 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 they have had to endure. They should never have been ignored, asked to pay or let down. This day marks a turning point and an important step towards resolving this crisis. There is so much more work to do. From a personal perspective, I will always act to protect leaseholders and seek to end this injustice.”
Requirements of signatories
Signatories are required to fix all life-critical, fire-safety defects in all English buildings over 11 metres in height in which 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 on a faster basis.
For developers who have signed, their obligations begin immediately. Leaseholders will benefit from a common framework of rights and responsibilities that will see their buildings fixed without them having to pay, while developers will be required to inform residents in affected buildings on how they will be meeting these commitments.
In due course, the Government will publish further information 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. Powers outlined within the Building Safety Act 2022 will be enforced.
Further, regulations will establish the Responsible Actors Scheme and set out the criteria for eligibility as well as the conditions of membership. Eligible developers who do not sign the contract will not be able to join the Responsible Actors Scheme and will be subject to prohibitions.
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07 December 2023
30 November 2023