Industry News Chris Norris 22/12/2021

Blog: Landlords Needed for Building Safety Bill

The Grenfell Tower fire was a tragedy which shook the housing sector to its core. I remember very shortly after being called into the ministry of housing and local government, along with a number of other industry representatives, for a series of emergency meetings with the secretary of state.

It wasn’t immediately clear what the impact of the cladding crisis would be, nor the cost, but it was readily apparent that standards, practices, and responsibilities would all need to change.

Rolling forward more than four years to the present day, the Building Safety Bill is before parliament and a new Building Safety Regulator (BSR) is to be created.

An important role for private landlords

At times it has been difficult to gauge the impact that this new legislation and requirements are likely to have on private residential landlords.

By-and-large NRLA members are not freeholders, owners, and managers of multi-occupancy high-rise buildings, however a great many private landlords are leaseholders and will own properties in affected buildings.

It is for this reason that we need NRLA members with experience of ownership and letting units in mid or high-rise properties to volunteer to share their knowledge and understanding of the challenges facing similar landlords and residents.

We are asking for a small number of volunteers to help with two areas of work:

(i)    The Department for Levelling-up, Housing, and Communities (DLUHC) has asked NRLA to join a working group to help refine guidance and policy focussed on remediations and ensuring that costs are not unfairly passed on to leaseholders. 

In order to properly represent members, we would like to form a sounding board of NRLA members which we may survey from time to time or pose specific questions about buildings safety to help inform the group. The time commitment should be minimal and not require attendance at any meetings. 

(ii)    We have also been asked to help recruit at least one private landlord to join the HSE’s interim residents’ committee to assist in informing and preparing for the new regulatory framework.

The interim panel will be a small group of about 15 people. It will be made up of a mix of individuals with different experiences. This will require attendance of meetings (online or in person TBC) every two months. It is anticipated this will entail a commitment of about 30 hours during 2022. 

Both of these programmes of work are incredibly important and represent a genuine opportunity to influence future regulation concerning building safety.

If you are interested in volunteering, or learning about either of these opportunities please click here.

Chris Norris

Chris Norris Policy Director

Chris Norris is responsible for policy and campaigns at the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), having held a similar role at the NLA prior to its recent merger.

A private landlord and former letting agent himself, Chris has represented landlords for more than a decade, joining the NLA’s policy team in early 2007.

Before discovering the fun that can be had focussing on the PRS, Chris held a number of inhouse and consultancy public affairs roles focussing on housing, health, and social care.

See all articles by Chris Norris