With the draft Building Safety Bill 2020 underway, the chief executive of not-for-profit firm the Building Safety Register is seeking to evolve into its own organisation during this very challenging time that leaseholders are facing
The Building Safety Register, a not-for profit firm, is appealing for financial support - insurers have been urged to get involved and demonstrate their commitment to building safety.
With the recent publication of the draft Building Safety Act 2020 causing challenges for leaseholders in high-rise buildings alongside the ongoing professional indemnity crises in this sector, ”we feel the time is now right for the Building Safety Register to become its own organisation,” Matt Hodges-Long, chief executive of Track My Risks and the founder of the Building Safety Register, told Insurance Times.
The Building Safety Register provides a means of communication between the regulator, stakeholders, residents, insurers and lenders. It can hold credentials about a building’s safety and quality.
Hodges-Long previously deemed the new draft legislation around building safety as “an assault on leaseholders” as some residents are facing paying £15,000 to £20,000 per year in insurance premiums for their apartments.
But the legislation – the Building Safety Bill 2020 - has also lumbered leaseholders with the responsibility of paying an additional safety charge.
The Grenfell tragedy, which happened back in June 2017, has forced insurance premiums for leaseholders to soar as a reaction to the uproar around fire, cladding and safety systems.
Hodges-Long is also looking to encourage further conversations about the funding and remediation of these high-rise buildings, to get them up to scratch on safety standards - he has called on the insurance industry to work together on this.
Caught in the middle
Leaseholders could potentially recover some of this money in the future, say through an insurance claim, but in the time that it takes to process the payout, residents could face bankruptcy, financial ruin or even suicide due to the pressure of organising this mandatory cover for their property. Many are also still unable to pay the sky-high insurance premiums on high-rise flats.
As a result this could render properties that are leasehold high-rise blocks of flats as unsellable because insurance is compulsory when buying a property such as this.
Hodges-Long added: “There are numerous problems – if you change one it has a knock-on impact on other areas. It is just a difficult problem to solve. Although one might be critical of insurers, lenders, the government, etc, there needs to be some joined up thinking to make sure that ultimately whatever comes out of this new regulatory environment is firm, fair and effective.”