We’re working to ensure that those who created the building safety crisis pay to fix it and that leaseholders are made safe in their properties as soon as possible.
Leasehold offers a modern dynamic form of tenure, and should remain a choice for residents across the country. We want to make sure future leasehold reform is proportionate and takes this into account.
We are committed to upholding the highest standards among our members and affiliates when it comes to insurance practices, delivering accessibility, transparency and safety for leaseholders.
The built environment has significant ESG challenges to face in the coming decades. Freeholders can play an important role in addressing those – and the RFA is determined to lead best practice in the sector.
Since 2017, the Government has embarked on a series of reforms to the leasehold sector, starting with a policy paper setting out plans to “improve consumer choice and fairness” in the sector.
Beginning with the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022, the Government has now begun a series of legislative changes around leasehold that will in fact reduce consumer choice.
The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022 banned ground rents being charged to leaseholders on regulated new leases – effectively excluding professional freeholders from owning and managing newly built apartment blocks.
This will create a future of ‘zombie-owned’ buildings, with in many cases no one wanting to take on the obligations of owning the building.
Further legislation is planned to encourage greater transition of properties to commonhold through enfranchisement reforms. The RFA is clear that further reforms must not undermine investment in the sector or come at the expense of effective building management.
Research from Savanta in 2020 outlined how “leaseholders are reluctant to accept the Accountable Person role” associated with a commonhold system “due to concerns around competence, legal exposure and the time commitment required”.
The RFA is therefore campaigning to ensure future leasehold reform takes into account the vital role of the professional freeholder, while calling for more effective regulation to be introduced that ensures professional freeholders maintain high standards within their duties.
The RFA is committed to playing its part in resolving the building safety crisis, and stands ready to support the Government on this.
However, the Government’s Building Safety Act is incompatible with other existing initiatives, slowing down progress.
In addition to this, groups which played no part in the crisis – such as professional freeholders and leaseholders – are being asked to pay for repairs if developers cannot.
Those in the industry who played a role in creating the crisis should be expected to pay for remediation costs.
A central pillar of the RFA’s work will be to work with a wide range of stakeholders on pushing for necessary changes to the Government’s building safety policy.
In practice, that means scrutinising the Developer Pledge and the developer contract associated with it to make certain it is fit for purpose and ensures developers undertake repairs to safety issues they caused, in turn ensuring there are no further delays to remediation works. It also means ensuring the Government to re-work the Grant Funding Agreement so it is no longer incompatible with the Building Safety Act.