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Building Safety Bill

Volume 707: debated on Wednesday 19 January 2022

Consideration of Bill, as amended in the Public Bill Committee

[Relevant documents: Seventh Report of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, Session 2019-21, Cladding remediation—Follow-up, HC 1249; Fifth Report of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, Session 2019-21, Pre-legislative scrutiny of the Building Safety Bill, HC 466, and the Government Response, CP 473; Second Report of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, Session 2019-21, Cladding: progress of remediation, HC 172, and the Government Response, CP 281; Letter from the Chair of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee to the Minister for Building Safety, Fire and Communities regarding the Government’s response to the Committee’s pre-legislative scrutiny of the Building Safety Bill, dated 19 July 2021, and the Minister’s response, dated 31 August 2021.]

New Clause 20

Regulations under section 131

“(1) The power to make regulations under section 131(6)(b) is exercisable by statutory instrument, in the case of regulations made by the Secretary of State or the Welsh Ministers.

(For regulations under section 131(6)(b) made by the Scottish Ministers, see section 27 of the Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 (asp 10)).

(2) Regulations under section 131(6)(b)—

(a) may make different provision for different purposes;

(b) may contain consequential, supplementary, incidental, transitional or saving provision.

(3) Regulations under section 131(6)(b)—

(a) if made by the Secretary of State, may not be made unless a draft of the statutory instrument containing them has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament;

(b) if made by the Welsh Ministers, may not be made unless a draft of the statutory instrument containing them has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, Senedd Cymru;

(c) if made by the Scottish Ministers, are subject to the affirmative procedure (see section 29 of the Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 (asp 10)).”—(Christopher Pincher.)

This new clause provides for the parliamentary procedure and other matters connected to the power to make regulations under section 131(6)(b) and is needed as a consequence of conferring powers on the Welsh Ministers and the Scottish Ministers (see Amendments 54 and 55).

Brought up, and read the First time.

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Government new clause 21—Amendment of the Government of Wales Act 2006.

Government new clause 22—Architects: Appeals Committee.

New clause 3—Remediation costs and Building Works Agency

“(1) The remediation costs condition applies where a landlord has carried out any fire safety works to an applicable building in consequence of any provision, duty or guidance arising from—

(a) the Housing Act 2004;

(b) the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005;

(c) the Building Safety Act 2021;

(d) any direction, recommendation or suggestion of any public authority or regulatory body;

(e) such other circumstances or enactment as the Secretary of State may prescribe by regulations or in accordance with subsection (9), below.

(2) If the remediation costs condition is met, then the costs incurred by the landlord in connection with those matters may not be the subject of a demand for payment of service charges, administration charges or any other charge permitted or authorised by any provision of any long lease.

(3) Any demand for payment which contravenes this section shall be of no force or effect and will have no validity in law.

(4) Any covenant or agreement, whether contained in a lease or in an agreement collateral to such a lease, is void in so far as it purports to authorise any forfeiture or impose on the tenant any penalty, disability or obligation in the event of the tenant refusing, failing or declining to make a payment to which this section applies.

(5) The remediation costs condition applies to demands for payment before the landlord incurs the costs in the same way as it applies to demands for payment made after the costs have been incurred.

(6) The remediation costs condition does not apply where the landlord is a company in which the majority of the shares are held by leaseholders or where the landlord is an RTM company.

(7) Within six months of the day on which this section comes into force, the Secretary of State must create an agency referred to as the Building Works Agency.

(8) The purpose of the Building Works Agency shall be to administer a programme of cladding remediation and other building safety works, including—

(a) overseeing an audit of cladding, insulation and other building safety issues in buildings over two storeys;

(b) prioritising audited buildings for remediation based on risk;

(c) determining the granting or refusal of grant funding for cladding remediation work;

(d) monitoring progress of remediation work and enforce remediation work where appropriate;

(e) determining buildings to be safe once remediation work has been completed;

(f) seeking to recover costs of remediation where appropriate from responsible parties; and

(g) providing support, information and advice for owners of buildings during the remediation process.

(9) The Building Works Agency shall also have power to recommend that the Secretary of State exercises his power under clause (1)(e) in such terms and to such extent that it sees fit. If such a recommendation is made, the Secretary of State must, within 28 days, either—

(a) accept it and exercise the power under clause 1(e) within 28 days of acceptance; or

(b) reject it and, within 28 days of rejection, lay before Parliament a report setting out the reasons for rejection.

(10) In this section—

(a) ‘fire safety works’ means any work or service carried out for the purpose of eradicating or mitigating (whether permanently or temporarily) any risk associated with the spread of fire, the structural integrity of the building or the ability of people to evacuate the building;

(b) ‘applicable building’ means a building subject to one or more long leases on the day on which section comes into force;

(c) ‘service charge’ has the meaning given by s.18, Landlord and Tenant Act 1985;

(d) ‘administration charge’ has the meaning given by Schedule 11, Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002;

(e) ‘long lease’ has the meaning given by sections 76 and 77 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002;

(f) ‘RTM company’ has the meaning given by section 113 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.

(11) This section comes into force on the day on which this Act is passed.”

New clause 4—Building Safety remediation and works: zero-rating for Value Added Tax purposes

“(1) The Value Added Tax Act 1994 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 35(1A)(b) at the end leave out ‘and’.

(3) In subsection 35(1A)(c) leave out the final full stop and insert ‘, and’.

(4) After subsection 35(1A)(c) insert—

‘(d) building safety remediation or building safety works of the type described in item 4A of the table in paragraph 1 of Group 5 of Schedule 8 to this Act.’

(5) After subsection 35(2) insert—

‘(2A) For the purposes of subsection (2), the Commissioners shall make regulations providing for a period of not less than 6 months to be open for claims for repayment of VAT in relation to supplies under subsection 35(1A)(d) where the date of supply is between 14 June 2017 and 31 July 2022.’

(6) In the table at paragraph 1 of Group 5 of Schedule 8, after existing item 4 insert new item 4A—

‘The supply in the course of—

(a) remediation of any defect in any external wall of any building containing two or more residential dwellings; or

(b) remediation of any defect in any attachment to any external wall of any building containing two or more residential dwellings; or

(c) the installation of a new or upgraded communal fire alarm system, other than to replace a communal system which has reached the end of its working life, or a communal system which has broken down as a result of failure to make reasonable repairs over time; or

(d) remediation of any internal or external defect other than a defect described in paragraphs (a), (b) or (c); or

(e) any building safety works carried out by an accountable person under section 86 of the Building Safety Act 2021

of any services related to the remediation.’

(7) In the table at paragraph 1 of Group 5 of Schedule 8, in item 4 replace ‘item 2 or 3’ with ‘item 2, 3 or 4A’.

(8) After note 24 insert a new note as follows—

‘(25) For the purposes of item 4A in the table above—

“defect” means anything posing any risk to the spread of fire, the structural integrity of the building or the ability of people to evacuate the building, including but not limited to any risk identified in guidance issued under Article 50 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (S.I. 2005/1541) or any risk identified in regulations made under section 59 of the Building Safety Act 2021;

“external wall” has the same meaning as in Article 6 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (S.I. 2005/1541);

“remediation” means any step taken to eradicate or to mitigate a defect, including employment of any person temporarily or permanently to assist in evacuation of any part of a building, and whether or not the defect in question existed at the date any dwelling in the building was first occupied. Remediation does not include anything required in consequence of omitting to effect reasonable repairs or maintenance to all or any part of the building over time, or anything which is the responsibility of the occupant of a dwelling in the building.’

(9) This section comes into force on 1 August 2022.”

This new clause allows recovery of VAT on building safety remedial works paid since 14 June 2017 and makes future supplies of materials, goods and services for building safety remediation projects zero-rated for Value Added Tax.

New clause 5—Fire safety defects and defective dwellings

“(1) The Housing Act 1985 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 528(1)(a) leave out the final ‘, and’ and insert ‘, or’.

(3) After section 528(1)(a) insert—

‘(aa) buildings in the proposed class are defective as a result of their external walls or any attachment to the external walls, whether as a result of the design or construction of the external walls or the attachment in question; or

(ab) buildings in the proposed class are defective as a result of anything which in the opinion of the Secretary of State poses a building safety risk or the ability of anyone to evacuate the building, whether or not the building is a higher-risk building, and’

(4) In section 528(1)(b) for ‘paragraph (a)’ substitute ‘paragraphs (a), (aa) or (ab)’.

(5) In section 528(1)(b) at the end insert ‘, or in the opinion of the Secretary of State is materially difficult to mortgage, insure or sell compared to non-defective dwellings.’

(6) After section 528(4) insert—

‘(4A) A designation may identify any part of a building or class of buildings, any design feature, any material used in the construction of that building, any error in workmanship or installation or anything missing from that building, whether or not it should have been included when the building was constructed.

(4B) A designation may be made if the defect requires the employment of any person, whether on a permanent or temporary basis, specifically to assist with the evacuation of that building or part of that building.’

(7) After section 528(6) insert—

‘(7) In this section—

“building safety risk” has the same meaning as in section 59 of the Building Safety Act 2021.

“external wall” has the same meaning as in Article 6 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (S.I. 2005/1541).

“higher-risk building” has the same meaning as in section 62 of the Building Safety Act 2021.’

(8) In section 559(1)(a) omit the final ‘, and’ and replace it with ‘, or’.

(9) After section 559(1)(a) insert—

‘(aa) buildings in the proposed class are defective as a result of their external walls or any attachment to the external walls, whether as a result of the design or construction of the external walls or the attachment in question; or

(ab) buildings in the proposed class are defective as a result of anything which in the opinion of the local housing authority poses a building safety risk or the ability of anyone to evacuate the building, whether or not the building is a higher-risk building, and’

(10) In section 559(1)(b) for ‘paragraph (a)’ substitute ‘paragraphs (a), (aa) or (ab)’.

(11) In section 559(1)(b) at end insert—

‘or in the opinion of the local housing authority materially difficult to mortgage, insure or sell compared to non-defective dwellings.’

(12) After section 559(4) insert—

‘(4A) A designation may identify any part of a building or class of buildings, any design feature, any material used in the construction of that building, any error in workmanship or installation or anything missing from that building, whether or not it should have been included when the building was constructed.

(4B) A designation may be made if the defect requires the employment of any person, whether on a permanent or temporary basis, specifically to assist with the evacuation of that building or part of that building.’

(13) After section 559(6) insert—

‘(7) In this section—

“building safety risk” has the same meaning as in section 59 of the Building Safety Act 2021;

“external wall” has the same meaning as in Article 6 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (S.I. 2005/1541);

“higher-risk building” has the same meaning as in section 62 of the Building Safety Act 2021.’

(14) This section comes into force on the day this Act is passed.”

This new clause is suggested before clause 126. This new clause amends Part XVI of the Housing Act 1985 (originally enacted as the Housing Defects Act 1984) to empower the government and local authorities to designate dwellings with cladding and fire safety defects as defective and to provide grant support for remediation.

New clause 6—Duty on the Secretary of State to report on designations under Part XVI of the Housing Act 1985

“(1) Within the period of six months beginning with the day on which this section comes into force, the Secretary of State must—

(a) consider the financial impact on leaseholders in England and Wales of building safety advice given by his department since 14 June 2017; and

(b) in conjunction with the Treasury and the Prudential Regulation Authority, consider the impact of building safety advice given by his department since 14 June 2017 on the supply of mortgage finance for leasehold flats in England and Wales; and

(c) publish a report setting out his determination, in light of the factors identified in paragraphs (a) and (b), as to whether designations under section 528 or section 559 of the Housing Act 1985 would improve conditions for leaseholders, or would improve the supply of mortgage finance for leasehold flats in England and Wales.

(2) If the Secretary of State’s report under subsection (1) concludes that designations under section 528 or section 559 of the Housing Act 1985 would improve financial conditions for leaseholders in England and Wales, or would improve the supply of mortgage finance for leasehold flats in England and Wales, then at the same time as publishing his report he must—

(a) make arrangements to provide all necessary funding;

(b) make the appropriate designations under section 528 of the Housing Act 1985; and

(c) advise local housing authorities to make appropriate designations under section 559 of the Housing Act 1985.

(3) Before making any regulations bringing into force any section in Part 4 of this Act, the Secretary of State must make arrangements for—

(a) a motion to the effect that the House of Commons has approved the report prepared under subsection (1), to be moved in the House of Commons by a minister of the Crown; and

(b) a motion to the effect that the House of Lords to take note of the report prepared under subsection (1), to be moved in the House of Lords by a minister of the Crown.

(4) The motions required under subsections (3)(a) and (3)(b) must be moved in the relevant House by a Minister of the Crown within the period of five calendar days beginning with the end of the day on which the report under subsection (1) is published.

(5) If the motion tabled in the House of Commons is rejected or amended, the Secretary of State must, within 30 calendar days, publish a further report under subsection (1) and make arrangements for further approval equivalent to those under subsection (2).

(6) The Secretary of State shall make a further report under subsection (1) at least every 90 calendar days beginning with the day of any rejection or amendment by the House of Commons under subsection (5) until otherwise indicated by a resolution of the House of Commons.

(7) In this section—

‘leaseholder’ means the registered legal owner of a long lease; and

‘leasehold flat’ means a flat owned by a leaseholder; and

‘long lease’ has the same meaning as in section 76 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.

(8) This section comes into force on the day this Act is passed.”

This new clause is suggested before clause 126. It places a time-limited duty on the Secretary of State to consider making designations under Part XVI of the Housing Act 1985 to provide funding for cladding and fire safety remediation and for Parliament to approve the plans for doing so.

New clause 7—Building Safety Indemnity Scheme

“(1) There shall be a body called the ‘Building Safety Indemnity Scheme’ (referred to in this Act as ‘the Scheme’).

(2) The purpose of the Scheme shall be to collect money from levies and to disburse the money raised from those levies in the form of grants to leaseholders to pay all or any part of the following types of costs—

(a) remediation of any defect in any external wall of any building containing two or more residential units; or

(b) remediation of any defect in any attachment to any external wall of any building containing two or more residential units; or

(c) remediation of any internal or external defect other than a defect described in paragraphs (a) or (b); or

(d) any building safety works carried out by an accountable person under section 86; or

(e) any other cost of a type specified by the Secretary of State in regulations made under this section.

(3) The Scheme may disburse money for the benefit of leaseholders in any type of building, whether or not a higher-risk building and whether or not the building was first occupied before the coming into force of this Act.

(4) The levy imposed by the Scheme shall be determined by reference to each of the following—

(a) the Scheme’s best estimate of the reasonably likely total cost of grants to cover any type of cost described in subsection (2);

(b) the Scheme’s best estimate of the costs of raising and administering the levy; and

(c) the Scheme’s best estimate of the costs of processing applications for grants to leaseholders and disbursing funds to leaseholders from monies raised by the levy.

(5) Members of the Scheme subject to levies shall include the following—

(a) any person seeking building control approval;

(b) any prescribed insurer providing buildings insurance to buildings containing two or more residential units, whether or not the buildings are higher-risk buildings;

(c) any prescribed supplier of construction products subject to regulations made under Schedule 9 to this Act;

(d) any prescribed lender providing mortgage finance in the United Kingdom, whether or not secured over residential units in higher-risk buildings; and

(e) any other person whom the Secretary of State considers appropriate.

(6) The Scheme is to consult with levy paying members before determining the amount and duration of any levy.

(7) The Scheme must provide a process by which leaseholders, or persons acting on behalf of leaseholders, can apply for grants for the types of costs specified in subsection (2).

(8) The Scheme must provide an appeals process for the Scheme’s decisions regarding—

(a) the determination of the amount of any levy; or

(b) the determination of any grant application.

(9) A building control authority may not give building control approval to anyone unless—

(a) the person seeking building control approval is a registered member of the Scheme, or that person becomes a registered member of the Scheme before the building control approval is given; and

(b) the person seeking building control approval pays all levies made on that person by the Scheme before the building control approval is given.

(10) The Secretary of State must provide that any regulations made under Schedule 9 to this Act provide, as a condition of approval of any regulated construction product, that any prescribed supplier of such a product—

(a) is a registered member of the Scheme, or that prescribed supplier becomes a registered member of the Scheme; and

(b) that the prescribed supplier pays all levies made on that person by the Scheme.

(11) Any liability to pay a levy under this section does not affect the liability of the same person to pay an additional levy under section 57 of this Act.

(12) Within a period of 12 months beginning with the coming into force of this section, the Secretary of State must make regulations providing for—

(a) the appointment of a board to oversee the Scheme;

(b) the staffing of the Scheme;

(c) the creation and maintenance of a public register of members of the Scheme;

(d) the preparation of the best estimates described in subsection (4);

(e) the amount, manner and timing of payment of the levies on members of the Scheme under this section;

(f) the process of joining the Scheme;

(g) the process of leaseholders applying to the Scheme for grants towards any of the types of costs specified in subsection (2);

(h) the process for handling any appeals against decisions of the Scheme on any levy or any grant;

(i) the Scheme to make an annual report to Parliament; and

(j) any other matters consequential to the Scheme’s operation.

(13) Regulations made under this section are to be made by statutory instrument.

(14) A statutory instrument under this section may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

(15) In this section—

‘building’ has the same meaning as in section 29;

‘building control approval’ has the same meaning as in paragraph (1B)(2) of Schedule 1 to the Building Act 1984;

‘building control authority’ has the same meaning as in section 121A of the Building Act 1984;

‘defect’ means anything posing any risk to the spread of fire, the structural integrity of the building or the ability of people to evacuate the building, including but not limited to any risk identified in guidance issued under Article 50 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (S.I. 2005/1541) or any risk identified in regulations made under section 59;

‘external wall’ has the same meaning as in Article 6 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (S.I. 2005/1541);

‘higher-risk building’ has the same meaning as in section 59;

‘prescribed’ means prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State;

‘remediation’ means any step taken to eradicate or to mitigate a defect, including employment of any person to temporarily assist in evacuation of any part of a building, and whether or not the defect in question existed at the date any residential unit in the building was first occupied. Remediation does not include anything required in consequence of omitting to effect reasonable repairs or maintenance to all or any part of the building over time, or anything which is the responsibility of an occupant of a residential unit within the building;

‘residential unit’ has the same meaning as in section 29.

(16) This section shall come into force on the day this Act is passed.”

This new clause is suggested after clause 126, requiring the government to establish a comprehensive fund, equivalent to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, to provide grants to remediate cladding and fire safety defects of all descriptions, paid for by levies on developers, building insurers and mortgage lenders.

New clause 8—Implied terms in residential building and residential renovation contracts

“(1) Every residential building contract is to be taken to contain terms that—

(a) the residential unit is fit for the purpose of ordinary residential occupation and is likely to remain so for a reasonable period if kept in appropriate repair;

(b) the residential unit in question is constructed in all material respects as described or stated on the approved plans;

(c) the residential unit is not subject to any building safety risk;

(d) the materials incorporated in the residential unit are as described in any approved plans;

(e) the materials incorporated in the residential unit are of satisfactory quality;

(f) the design of the residential unit is of a reasonable standard;

(g) the design of the residential unit is prepared with reasonable care and skill;

(h) all works in connection with the construction of the residential unit are executed with reasonable care and skill; and

(i) the residential unit complies in all material respects with all applicable statutory requirements and with all applicable building regulations in force as at the date of completion.

(2) Every residential renovation contract is to be taken to contain terms that any renovation works—

(a) do not render the unit unfit for the purpose of ordinary residential occupation;

(b) do not create any building safety risk;

(c) do not involve the incorporation of materials in the residential unit which are not as described in any approved plans;

(d) do not involve the incorporation of materials in the residential unit which are not of satisfactory quality;

(e) are executed with reasonable care and skill; and

(f) do not render the residential unit materially non-compliant with any applicable statutory requirement or with any applicable requirement of building regulations in force as at the date of completion.

(3) For the purposes of subsections (1) and (2), where the residential unit forms part of a building consisting of two or more residential units, the internal and external common parts of that building necessary for the reasonable occupation of any of the residential units are also to be taken to be subject to the same terms.

(4) A residential unit is fit for the ordinary purpose of residential occupation if it would be regarded as such by a reasonable person and taking into account—

(a) the ordinary costs of repair and maintenance of that residential unit by reference to that unit’s location and specific characteristics;

(b) any marketing materials provided before the sale of the residential unit in question; and

(c) whether that unit was marketed, designed or intended to be occupied by any particular class of persons, whether by age, by gender or by physical or mental disability.

(5) For the purposes of this section—

(a) a matter is material if it would be considered material if known or discovered by a reasonable purchaser of that residential unit before completing a purchase of that residential unit on ordinary commercial terms;

(b) a design is of a reasonable standard if a designer of average competence would have produced the same or a similar design;

(c) a material is of satisfactory quality if it would meet the requirements for satisfactory quality of goods under section 9 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015; and

(d) a material is as described if it would meet the requirements for description of goods under section 11 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

(6) The terms taken to be included in any residential building contract or residential renovation contract are enforceable by any owner of the residential unit provided or renovated under the contract in question.

(7) A term of a residential building contract or a residential renovation contract is not binding on the owner of a residential unit provided or renovated pursuant to that contract if it would exclude or restrict any liability in relation to the terms implied by this section.

(8) The reference in subsection (7) to excluding or restricting a liability also includes preventing an obligation or duty arising or limiting its extent.

(9) An agreement in writing to submit present or future differences to arbitration is not to be regarded as excluding or restricting any liability for the purposes of this section.

(10) In this section—

‘approved plans’ means any document submitted as part of obtaining building control approval;

‘building control approval’ has the same meaning as in paragraph (1B) of Schedule 1 to the Building Act 1984;

‘building safety risk’ has the same meaning as in section 59, whether or not the residential unit is in a higher-risk building;

‘higher-risk building’ has the same meaning as in section 62;

‘owner’ means the registered legal owner of the residential unit from time to time, including any trustee holding a beneficial interest on behalf of a third party and any transferee or assignee of the original owner;

‘residential unit’ has the same meaning as in section 29;

‘residential building contract’ means a contract made in the course of business involving work on or in connection with the construction of a residential unit (whether the dwelling is provided by the erection or by the conversion or enlargement of an existing building);

‘residential renovation contract’ means a contract made in the course of business involving work on an existing residential unit, except where it is expected that, on completion of the work, it will have ceased to be a residential unit or will otherwise have ceased to exist.”

This new clause, proposed to be inserted after clause 128 strengthens consumer rights for future buyers by implying terms that houses and flats are built, and are renovated, to reasonable standards of quality and compliant in all material respects with the law and with building regulations.

New clause 9—Implied terms: limitation

“(1) The Limitation Act 1980 is amended as follows.

(2) After section 5 insert—

‘5A Time limit for actions related to breach of implied terms in residential building contracts and residential renovation contracts

An action in respect of the breach of the term implied into a residential building contract or a residential renovation contract by section (Implied terms in residential building and residential renovation contracts) of the Building Safety Act 2021 may not be brought after the expiration of 25 years from the date on which the cause of action accrued.’”

This new clause provides for a 25 year limitation period for breaches of the terms implied by the amendment proposed above.

New clause 10—Implied terms: mandatory insurance

“(1) No member of the new homes ombudsman scheme created by this Act may offer for sale or sell any residential unit unless —

(a) every potential purchaser is provided on request with an accurate written summary of the terms of a prescribed policy applying to the residential unit when completed; and

(b) in accordance with any relevant regulation made under this section, or under section 131, or under section 132, the person offering for sale or the seller of the residential unit arranges a valid prescribed policy and provides a copy of a valid prescribed policy given to the purchaser of the residential unit on the day of the transfer to the purchaser of legal title in the residential unit.

(2) Any person in the course of business providing a residential unit under a residential building contract or renovations to a residential unit under a residential renovation contract must obtain a valid prescribed policy.

(3) No term of any residential building contract or residential renovation contract is enforceable unless a valid prescribed policy is in force in respect of such a contract.

(4) Within a period of six months beginning on the day this section comes into force, the Secretary of State must make regulations prescribing insurance terms for the purposes for this section, including—

(a) the creditworthiness of any insurer or warranty scheme under this section;

(b) the name of any warranty scheme which in the opinion of the Secretary of State achieves the purposes of this section;

(c) the minimum terms of any insurance or warranty under this section;

(d) that any policy or warranty scheme also provides reasonably adequate cover for any claim under sections 1 and 2A of the Defective Premises Act 1972 and section 38 of the Building Act 1984;

(e) a policy term or a warranty term of not less than the limitation period for making claims under any term implied into a residential building contract or residential renovation contract by this Act; and

(f) to bring into force section [Implied terms in residential building and residential renovation contracts] and section [Implied terms: limitation].

(5) Regulations made under this section are to be made by statutory instrument.

(6) A statutory instrument under this section may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

(7) In this section—

‘new homes ombudsman scheme’ means the scheme established under section 129;

‘prescribed’ means prescribed in regulations made by the Secretary of State, whether under this section, or under section 131, or under section 132;

‘residential building contract’ has the same meaning as in section [Implied terms in residential building and residential renovation contracts];

‘residential renovation contract’ has the same meaning as in section [Implied terms in residential building and residential renovation contracts]; and

‘residential unit’ has the same meaning as in section 29.

(8) This section shall come into force on the day this Act is passed.”

This new clause provides that members of the New Homes Ombudsman Scheme may not sell any new flat or house unless they provide insurance for 25-years to cover breach of implied terms as to quality.

New clause 11—Limitation Period for claims under section 38 of the Building Act 1984

“(1) Section 38 of the Building Act 1984 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 38(4) after ‘includes’ insert ‘economic loss,’.

(3) After section 38(4) insert—

‘(5) No right of action for damages for economic loss under this section shall accrue until any person to whom the duty is owed has actual knowledge of breach that duty.

(6) Notwithstanding anything in subsection (5) or any regulations made under this section, an action for damages for economic loss under this section shall not be brought after the expiration of twenty-five years from the date the breach of duty occurred.

(7) For the purposes of subsection (6), where there is more than one actionable breach of duty causing economic loss and the breaches in question occurred on different dates, then time runs only from the date of the last such breach.

(8) Any right of action under this section other than a right of action for damages for economic loss shall be subject to section 11 and section 14A of the Limitation Act 1980.’

(4) This section shall come into force at the end of the period of two months beginning on the day on which this Act is passed.”

This new clause proposed for the Building Act 1984 enables claims for recovery of monetary damages (economic loss) and provides that the time limit for claims start when a resident becomes aware of a breach, subject to a 25-year longstop date.

New clause 12—Abolition of the rule preventing recovery of economic loss in certain actions relating to damage or defects in buildings

“(1) In any prescribed statutory action for damages, there is no bar to recovering economic loss.

(2) In any action for damages for negligence in relation to the construction or renovation of any residential unit, other than an action for damages to which section 11 or section 14A of the Limitation Act 1980 applies, there is no bar to recovering economic loss.

(3) This section shall apply to any right of action accruing on or after the day this section comes into force.

(4) For the purposes of this section —

‘prescribed statutory action for damages’ means any action for damages for breach of section 1 or section 2A of the Defective Premises Act 1972.

‘residential unit’ means any dwelling or other unit of residential accommodation, including any internal or external common parts of any building necessary for the occupation of that residential unit.

(5) This section shall come into force at the end of the period of two months beginning on the day on which this Act is passed.”

This new clause abolishes the rule preventing the recovery of economic loss from developers and other professionals in claims for negligence and in claims under the Defective Premises Act 1972.

New clause 13—Leaseholder Costs Protection

“(1) This section applies to a relevant building where a landlord has carried out any fire safety works to a building in consequence of any provision, duty or guidance arising from—

(a) the Housing Act 2004;

(b) the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005;

(c) this Act;

(d) any direction, recommendation or suggestion of any public authority or regulatory body; and

(e) such other circumstances or enactment as the Secretary of State may prescribe by regulations.

(2) If any of the conditions in subsection (1) are met, then the costs incurred by the landlord in connection with those matters may not be the subject of a demand for payment of service charges, administration charges or any other charge permitted or authorised by any provision of any long lease.

(3) Any demand for payment which contravenes this section shall be of no force or effect and will have no validity in law.

(4) Any covenant or agreement, whether contained in a lease or in an agreement collateral to such a lease, is void insofar as it purports to authorise any forfeiture or impose on the tenant any penalty, disability or obligation in the event of the tenant refusing, failing or declining to make a payment to which this section applies.

(5) This section applies to demands for payment before the landlord incurs the costs in the same way as it applies to demands for payment made after the costs have been incurred.

(6) This section does not apply where the landlord is a company in which the majority of the shares are held by leaseholders or where the landlord is an RTM company.

(7) For the purposes of this section, a relevant building is any building containing one or more residential dwellings let on a long lease.

(8) In this section—

‘administration charge’ has the meaning given by Schedule 11 to the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002; ‘fire safety works’ means any work or service carried out for the purpose of eradicating or mitigating (whether permanently or temporarily) any risk associated with the spread of fire, the structural integrity of the building or the ability of people to evacuate the building;

‘long lease’ has the meaning given by sections 76 and 77 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002;

‘residential dwelling’ means any dwelling or other unit of residential accommodation, including any internal or external common parts of any building necessary for the occupation of that residential unit;

‘service charge’ has the meaning given by section 18 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985;

‘RTM company’ has the meaning given by section 113 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.

(9) This section comes into force on the day on which this Act is passed.”

This new clause prevents the costs of any fire safety or building safety remedial works being passed on to leaseholders.

Amendment 2, in clause 126, page 133, line 17, at end insert—

“(d) In respect of remediation works completed before the coming into force of this section, apply for any refund of VAT due under section 35(1A)(d) of the Value Added Tax Act 1994 and credit the whole amount of any such refund received to leaseholders pro-rata in accordance with the terms of the lease.”

This amendment is consequential on NC4. Where works have already been carried out, this new subclause requires the landlord to obtain any retrospective VAT refund and to credit the whole amount of that VAT refund to leaseholders.

Amendment 5, in clause 127, page 135, line 29, leave out

“at the time the work is completed”

and insert

“when any person to whom the duty under this section is owed has actual knowledge of breach of that duty.”

This amendment provides that time to make a claim in respect of building renovations under section 2A of the Defective Premises Act 1972 only runs from the date a resident has knowledge of the breach, subject to a 25-year longstop.

Amendment 6, in clause 127, page 135, line 33, at end insert—

“(9) Notwithstanding anything in subsection (8), an action for damages for breach of the duty in this section, insofar as that action relates only to the original work in question, shall not be brought after the expiration of twenty-five years from the date the work in question is completed.”

This amendment provides that time to make a claim in respect of building renovations under section 2A of the Defective Premises Act 1972 only runs from the date a resident has knowledge of the breach, subject to a 25-year longstop.

Amendment 4, in clause 128, page 136, line 1, leave out “15 years” insert “25 years”.

This amendment proposes a longer period for claims under the Defective Premises Act 1972 and the Building Act 1984 considering the recent history of cladding and fire safety related defects and retrospective guidance issued by the government.

Government amendment 41.

Amendment 7, in clause 128, page 136, line 11, at end insert—

“(2A) In section 1(5) of the Defective Premises Act 1972 for ‘time when the dwelling was completed’ substitute ‘time when any person to whom the duty under this section is owed has actual knowledge of breach of that duty’.

(2B) After section 1(5) of the Defective Premises Act 1972 insert—

(6) Notwithstanding anything in subsection (5), an action for damages for breach of the duty in this section, insofar as that action relates only to the original construction of the building in question, shall not be brought after the expiration of twenty-five years from the time the dwelling is completed.’”

This amendment provides that time to bring a claim for damages under section 1 of the Defective Premises Act 1972 only runs from the date a resident has knowledge of a breach, subject to a 25-year longstop in relation to claims related to failures during the original construction.

Government amendment 42.

Amendment 8, in clause 128, page 136, line 19, leave out subsection (5).

The Human Rights Act 1998 already protects defendants’ rights in relation to retrospectively extended limitation periods. Removing subsection (5) removes the material risk a court may construe clause 128 in a way that means it has no practical benefit and will lead to years of costly litigation for leaseholders.

Amendment 9, in clause 128, page 136, leave out line 27 and line 28.

This amendment is consequential to Amendment 8 because the defined term “Convention Rights” is no longer required.

Government amendment 43.

Amendment 10, in clause 128, page 136, line 29, leave out “90 days” and insert “2 years”.

This amendment allows a period of up to 2 years, instead of 90 days, to obtain the necessary expert evidence required to issue viable claims under the Defective Premises Act 1972.

Government amendments 44 to 55.

Amendment 3, in clause 132, page 139, line 17, at end insert—

“(f) require members of the scheme under paragraph (a) to obtain policies of insurance that meet the requirements of section (Implied terms: mandatory insurance).”

Government amendments 56 to 58.

Government new schedule 2—Amendments in connection with the new homes ombudsman scheme.

Government amendment 71 and 72.

Government amendment 59.

Government amendment 62.

Government amendments 65 to 69.

It is a great pleasure to report to the House, to move the Government’s new clauses and to be able listen to the important debate that we will have on the Bill’s remaining stages. Over the past few months, the Bill has been subject to scrutiny and debate not only in Committee but through ongoing debate in this House, in the other place and, indeed, throughout the country.

Only last week, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities updated the House on our progress in addressing the ongoing issues and protecting leaseholders. We have brought the Bill forward on Report because we are clear that it needs to move forward, but we are conscious that further work needs to be done to it and look forward to working with parties from across the House and with interested parties to ensure that it is further improved in the other place.

Will the Minister confirm that the Government intend to table amendments in the other place to implement the statutory protection for leaseholders announced last week by the Secretary of State? By the time that the Bill is debated there, can we expect amendments to have been published so that we can consider them?

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his question. As I said, we are introducing the Bill at this stage because we are conscious that it is very important, and we need to get it through both Houses. However, as my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said in his statemen on 10 January, we want to ensure that we look closely to improve the appropriate legislative and statutory protections for leaseholders, and we will have to do that in a parliamentary way, which will of course include the other place.

Crikey. I give way first to my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Sir Robert Neill).

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for the undertaking to bring forward such matters in the other place and for listening to colleagues’ representations on a number of important issues. Given the pressures on business in the other House, will he assure us that there will be time properly to debate the amendments and that they will include important issues such as clarifying the position on internal developer fire safety defects—where there has been a defect that is the fault of the developer and/or regulatory failure and not anything else—just as much as external defects, and consequential costs that stem from those failures such as waking watch? Those are important issues, so I hope he will ensure that we have a proper debate and clarification on them in the other place.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. Of course, the time made available for debate in the other place is for the other place to determine, but I am sure that the business managers in both Houses have heard his points. I certainly want to ensure that there is adequate time to debate properly what are somewhat technical and detailed matters so that, working across party and with members of the Select Committee on Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, we can properly get the Bill right.

Further to the answer given to my right hon. Friend the Member for East Ham (Stephen Timms), will the Minister explain why the statutory protection that the Government are considering will apparently not extend to leaseholders not living in their flats? I know of at least one constituent of mine who was forced to leave his flat and rent it out as that was the only way he could raise the money to pay for the waking watches and insurance bills. Given that he is just as much a victim as those still living in their flats, why should protection against unreasonable costs not be extended to people such as him?

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman. He will know, as the House does, that building safety and the challenges that leaseholders face are very complicated. The House will also know that we have committed to help those in shared ownership, for example, by making it easier for them to rent out their properties if that is a means of ensuring that they can pay their mortgages. I assure him that we will look closely and work collegiately and collectively across parties, and with other interested parties, to ensure that such issues are effectively and appropriately debated and addressed.

My right hon. Friend has done a stoic job in taking the Bill through its various stages. The other place is under incredible pressure in dealing with Government legislation, as my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Sir Robert Neill) mentioned. It is clearly up to business managers there how much time they allocate to amendments and so forth, but will he commit that when the Bill comes back to us with the Lords amendments, we will get a chance to debate them—and, if necessary, correct them and improve them—rather than just a 60-minute debate where hardly anyone gets an opportunity to debate the issues?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. The business managers in this House, if not the other House, will have heard his points—he has got a pretty loud voice—and will want to ensure that appropriate, adequate debating time is made available to deal with these technical and detailed issues. As I said, I believe that business managers will have heard what has been said by him and by right hon. and hon. Members and will react accordingly.

I will give way to the Chairman of the Select Committee on Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, and then I probably ought to make a little more progress, having thus far read out only one paragraph of my opening remarks.

It was very well read, though.

I re-emphasise the point raised by the hon. Member for Harrow East (Bob Blackman). The Select Committee will have a very short but very thorough inquiry into the issues that the Secretary of State rightly raised in his statement to the House last week and the follow-up, but debating time in this place is an issue. The Minister’s answer is very helpful because the Lords will have lots of time, and then it is normal for us to have one hour to consider their amendments. The Bill needs a full-day debate because the amendments that the Government intend to make, following consultation with industry, are key to resolving the issue. I appreciate what the Minister said, and I hope the business managers are as supportive when they come to allocate time.

The hon. Gentleman and others remind me of what is often said of politics: even though everything that can be said has been said, not everybody who could say it has said it. He has just spoken for the entire House, and it is of course for the usual channels to determine the time allocated for debating and disposing of business, but the point of view of both sides of the House has thus far, very early in the debate, been heard.

I will make a little progress before giving way, if I may.

I have been delighted to talk to colleagues on both sides of the House, following the statement by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. I draw the House’s attention to the comments of my hon. Friends the Members for Southampton, Itchen (Royston Smith) and for Ipswich (Tom Hunt), who cannot be with us today because they are on parliamentary business elsewhere. They commissioned me to tell the House that they are very pleased with the direction of travel set out by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. They are pleased with the Government’s commitment to continue working with parliamentarians to protect leaseholders and to hold to account those responsible for building defects. If they were here, they would support the Government in the Lobby this afternoon.

I am sure we will address some difficult and challenging questions in this debate. Before we do, I am keen to introduce a group of Government amendments that I trust will be welcomed.

The Minister is generous in giving way. Could he reassure leaseholders in the Roundway in Wood Green that, after several years of lobbying both me and the Government, not only will the whole of the cladding costs be covered under this arrangement but their mortgage issues will be resolved?

The hon. Lady is a doughty campaigner on behalf of her constituents in the Roundway and elsewhere. I do not want to speak about specific buildings, which probably would not be appropriate because I do not know the detail, but we certainly want to make sure that we agree proper leaseholder protections across political parties and with interested parties. We will make amendments to that effect, as well as a suite of non-statutory interventions to make sure the people who ought to pay do pay.

I will give way a little more later. I am conscious that I have already spoken for a little while, and there are a number of new clauses and amendments that the House will want to debate and on which Members will want to make their views plain.

The Government are committed to improving redress and consumer protection for home buyers in new buildings. I am therefore pleased that we have introduced access to the new homes ombudsman scheme. Amendments 49, 50 and 72 introduce several changes to the new homes ombudsman provisions to enable them to work practically in Wales and Scotland, and to ensure that the scheme includes provision of information to Ministers in the devolved Administrations.

In addition, amendments 47, 48 and 71 and new schedule 2 remove barriers to enable the new homes ombudsman to work jointly with existing ombudsman schemes and clarify provision of co-operation between the ombudsman and other redress schemes. To ensure that the provisions work for home buyers across our nations, any differences in law and custom and practice will be respected.

Amendments 45, 56 and 57 include requirements for the Secretary of State to consult the devolved Administrations before making arrangements for the scheme. We want that consultation to be meaningful and our intention is to make sure that consideration is given to the views of the devolved Administrations at an appropriate time and before key decisions are taken about the ombudsman regime.

Amendments 54 and 55 confer a power on the relevant national authority for England, Scotland and Wales to add the meaning of the term “developer” in the new homes ombudsman provisions, through regulations as appropriate and following a discussion with other relevant national authorities.

New clause 20 makes provision for how Welsh and Scottish Ministers may exercise that power. New clause 21 makes sure that the devolved Administrations are not restricted from bringing forward legislation to alter the ombudsman’s statutory functions in relation to that territory’s future by disapplying a restriction in the Government of Wales Act 2006.

Finally, our intention is for the new homes ombudsman to work jointly with the other redress schemes and ombudsmen, and the amendments clarify that intention, removing barriers in existing legislation.

Will the Minister say how he will keep his promises to leaseholders to ensure that they will not bear the cost of the building safety crisis?

As I have already said, we want to work across the parties to make sure that leaseholders are properly protected and that those who should properly pay the costs of defective fire safety work bear that cost. I have said it from the Dispatch Box, and, on 10 January, the Secretary of State made the same commitment. We will work through the passage of the Bill to make sure that those protections are in place.

I am extremely grateful to the Minister for giving way. I welcome the ombudsman. Uncompleted estates have been a big issue in my constituency, and I welcome the consultation with the Welsh Government. May I take him back to the intervention from the right hon. Member for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn) about people who are landlords and leaseholders in one property and the need to include them in the scheme. In the spirit of that consultation—whatever compensation scheme comes forward will be administered in Wales by the Welsh Government—can he tell me what discussions he is having with the Welsh Government about that specific group of people who are very worried about the situation at the moment?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his support for the proposals in general. I can assure him that my officials work closely with officials in the devolved Administrations and we will continue to do so, again, as an example of working with interested parties to make sure that issues are properly addressed.

New clause 22 relates to appeals against registration decisions made by the Architects Registration Board. The new clause gives applicants for registration the opportunity to appeal a decision made by the board or the registrar to remove or refuse to enter or re-enter a person’s name onto the register. Without that, registrants removed under the new competence regime, to be introduced with clause 137, and first-time registrants will only have recourse to the High Court. The costs of an appeal made to the High Court could be prohibitive.

Amendment 58 will allow the board to delegate its prescription responsibilities to the prescription committee, giving it greater flexibility while maintaining oversight of the prescription of qualifications. Amendments 65 and 69 are consequential to that change.

I now turn to our proposed amendments on redress. The Bill Committee debated section 1 of the Defective Premises Act 1972 in significant detail; I recall that the hon. Member for Weaver Vale (Mike Amesbury) made several concise and incisive interventions. Section 1 allows a claim for compensation to be brought through the civil courts when a dwelling was “not fit for habitation” on completion. The limitation period in that Act currently stands at six years, which means that a claim must be brought within that period following the completion of the defective works.

As introduced, the Bill proposed to retrospectively and prospectively extend the limitation period to 15 years, meaning that it would not only apply going forward, but that it would be possible to bring a claim with respect to buildings completed from mid-2007 onwards, should the building have been constructed in such a way as to make it unfit for habitation.

I ask for the Minister’s further reassurance on some points of detail that relate to these amendments. First, around half of the buildings in my constituency that have difficulties associated with them have non-cladding-related problems. Those include internal compartmentalisation that has been improperly finished. Indeed, in Queens Wharf in Reading town centre, the building owners estimate that nearly £1 million of work needs to be carried out. These are often very large sums. In other cases, the problem is wooden cladding, wooden balconies or a range of other things. Do the amendments relate to these problems, or to flammable cladding only?

The Defective Premises Act has been in effect since 1972, so there is a significant body of case law that those wishing to bring an action, and indeed the courts, will be able to refer to, to determine whether a premises is defective and therefore whether an action should be successful. I am happy to write to the hon. Gentleman with further detail, but I can assure him that the Act is of long standing and has been well used, and there is a body of case law that can be applied.

Is there any right of redress to the regulatory authorities in local government, such as building inspectors and others, who were responsible for signing off on these schemes?

We certainly want to ensure though the Bill, that the building control mechanism and the industry are improved. I think that a suite of measures, including the introduction of better building control measures, the retrospection of the Defective Premises Act and further work that we may choose to do, working across parties, will help ensure that a very complicated and detailed set of challenges, which have emerged recently but have been developing over many years, are properly addressed.

I want to clarify, should I be lucky enough to catch Madam Deputy Speaker’s eye later, where my speech might be going. This is retrospective legislation, and that is fantastic—if we can track down the freeholder, the developer and the insurer. If they cannot be tracked down, where does that burden come? Surely we can find a way—I may suggest this in my speech, but I wonder whether the Minister has thought of a way—by which the unfairness of the impact of what we are now prescribing in the Minister’s legislation on those in cases where we cannot find them, as opposed to where we can, can be resolved.

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for the forewarning of what his speech may contain. I would say to him that quite apart from the body of case law that exists with respect to the 1972 Act, and quite apart from the fact that even if a company has become defunct directors can still be held liable for the decisions made, as it were, “on their watch”, the challenges that he has described are the sorts of things that we will want to discuss in this place and in the other place, across parties, to ensure that such challenges are addressed.

I will give way to the hon. Gentleman in a moment, but I am conscious that I have been speaking for 22 minutes and that there are one or two other remarks that I ought to make before the House has an opportunity to debate the new clauses and amendments.

Since the introduction of the Bill, it has become clear that a number of buildings affected by cladding and other serious fire safety defects were completed prior to 2007. We have listened to hon. Members from across the House who wanted a route to redress for those buildings. I pay tribute to my hon. Friends the Members for Stevenage (Stephen McPartland), for Kensington (Felicity Buchan), for Bromley and Chislehurst (Sir Robert Neill) and for Wimbledon (Stephen Hammond) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Sir Mike Penning), as well as a great many Opposition Members.

That is why we tabled Government amendment 41, which will retrospectively extend the limitation period for section 1 of the 1972 Act to 30 years, meaning that there will be access to this route of redress for buildings completed from mid-1992 onwards. That represents a substantial extension beyond the current six years. I recognise that changing the law in this way is unusual and that 30 years represents a long limitation period. However, I consider that the exceptionality of the current circumstances in respect of cladding and other serious fire safety defects warrants the longer retrospective limitation period of 30 years.

I shall give way to the hon. Member for Blackley and Broughton (Graham Stringer) and then to my hon. Friend the Member for Stevenage.

The Minister is being extraordinarily generous with his time. The Government have moved a good distance to get all-party support for what they are doing and to take the burden away from leaseholders. However, I suspect that in many cases, the people responsible for the defects will have liquidated themselves and will no longer be there. Is not one possible solution that a charge be put against the land, so that neither the leaseholder nor the taxpayer has to pay? Has he considered that?

We will consider all proposals that are put to us to see whether they work and to ensure that leaseholders are protected. As the Secretary of State said in his statement, we will conduct a series of summits with the sector to put people on notice that they must pay for the problems they have caused. If they will not do it voluntarily, we will find a means of requiring them to do so.

The hon. Gentleman was wrong to say that I am being generous with my time. In fact, I am being generous with the House’s time. I propose to be less generous in future, but not before I have allowed my hon. Friend the Member for Stevenage to intervene.

I would like to thank the Minister on behalf of a number of leaseholders around the country, because our amendments asked for only 25 years and the Government have gone further with 30 years. I put on the record my thanks to the Government for that.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I assure him that the 30-year retrospection is what we decided on; it is not a typo and it should not read 25 years.

The prospective limitation period will remain at 15 years, as is currently proposed, which still represents a substantial extension beyond the existing six years. In a small number of cases, the retrospectively extended limitation period will expire very soon following the commencement of the provision. We believe that it is important that the extended limitation period is of practical benefit in the case of all buildings that fall within scope. That is why we have proposed adding section 4B(4) to the Limitation Act 1980 through clause 128, which will ensure that there is always a minimum amount of time to lodge a claim under section 1 of the Defective Premises Act for buildings whose limitation periods will be revived for a very short period of time.

As introduced, the Bill provided for an initial period of 90 days in which action relating to defective premises could be taken when the extension was about to run out. I agree with several of my hon. Friends that 90 days is an insufficient amount of time to take the necessary advice and lodge a claim, which is why we are bringing forward amendments 42 and 43 to extend the initial period to one year. That means that those in any buildings completed between mid-1992 and mid-1993 will always have one full year in which to lodge their claim, once this Bill and its provisions apply. These amendments will ensure that the retrospectively extended limitation period can be of practical benefit in the case of all buildings in scope, and I trust that the House will support them.

Clause 127 expands the scope of the Defective Premises Act to include refurbishment works, and a technical amendment in the next group will ensure that this commences two months after Royal Assent, ensuring that this important new safeguard against shoddy workmanship is taken up as soon as possible. This was a debate that we had, and agreed about, in Committee. I am grateful to my right hon. and hon. Friends, and indeed to colleagues across the House, for debating these matters and for tabling amendments in this area, but I hope that in the light of what I have said from the Dispatch Box they will feel able to withdraw their amendments.

I want the Minister to clarify one last thing before he sits down, because although other hon. Members have raised it, I am still not entirely clear what reassurance there is for our constituents who are leaseholders experiencing problems that are not related to cladding. Others have raised the issues of internal partitions, roof spaces and so forth, and the Minister has referred to other legal channels that may be available, but can he tell me clearly now what reassurance there is for leaseholders who are not facing cladding problems but are facing other fire defects? Will the legal protections that he is offering extend to them?

We will work with parties across this House—across both Houses—and with interested parties to ensure that these issues are properly understood and debated.

No, I will not.

We want to ensure that these matters are properly debated and properly agreed. We also want to ensure, through a suite of mechanisms such as the extension of the Defective Premises Act and working with the sector to ensure that it pays for the defects it has caused, that this issue for leaseholders, which has gone on for far too long, is finally put to bed. This group of Government new clauses and amendments make key improvements to the Bill and extend its benefits to include the whole of Great Britain. I hope therefore that Members across the House will feel able to support the new clauses and the new schedule and allow them to stand part of the Bill.

It will not have escaped your notice, Madam Deputy Speaker, that I have taken on this Bill in its final stages, so I must begin by thanking my hon. Friends the Members for Manchester Central (Lucy Powell) and for Weaver Vale (Mike Amesbury) for their prodigious efforts during its earlier stages. I also want to thank my hon. Friends the Members for Liverpool, West Derby (Ian Byrne), for Brentford and Isleworth (Ruth Cadbury), for Luton South (Rachel Hopkins), for Jarrow (Kate Osborne) and for St Helens South and Whiston (Ms Rimmer) for so ably scrutinising it in Committee.

The issues covered by the Bill have been extensively set out in debates on Second Reading and in Committee. I have no intention of seeking to reprise them this afternoon, but before I turn to part 5 of the Bill and the consideration of the amendments related to it, I feel it is incumbent on me briefly to restate why we believe this legislation is so important. As the House knows, on 14 June 2017, 72 men, women and children lost their lives in an inferno fuelled by the highly combustible cladding system installed on the outside of their 24-storey tower block in north Kensington. That tower block was also compromised by a range of other fire safety defects. I put on record once again our admiration for the survivors and the bereaved of the Grenfell Tower fire and for the wider Grenfell Tower community, who continue to seek not only justice for their families and neighbours but wider change to ensure that everyone is safe in their home.

Does my hon. Friend agree that it is extremely important that we give the debate the time needed to remember the loss of life and the community that survived that terrible moment in our shared history?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. I hope that, as Members consider the Bill and amendments, they have the chance to reflect and to remember why it is going through.

One does not pre-empt the Grenfell Tower inquiry’s conclusions in stating that the horror of that dreadful June night was the product not only of pernicious industry practice, but of state failure—the failure of successive Governments in presiding over a deficient regulatory regime, and the failure to act on repeated warnings about the potential lethal consequences of that fact. The Hackitt review detailed a deeply flawed system of regulation and argued for a radical overhaul of it. To the extent that the Bill delivers on the recommendations of Dame Judith’s report, we remain supportive of it and want to see a version of it on the statute book as soon as possible, given that four and a half years have elapsed since the Grenfell tragedy; however, the House knows we have serious concerns about what is missing from the Bill, and particularly its failure as drafted to provide robust legal protection for leaseholders facing ruinous costs—a point already made by several hon. Members on both sides of the House—for remediating historic cladding and non-cladding defects. In the absence of such protection, the Opposition are clear that the Bill will fail to meet what Dame Judith described as

“The ultimate test of this new framework”,

namely,

“the rebuilding of public confidence in the system.”

As we have heard, part 5 deals with remediation and redress, as well as assorted provisions relating to safety and standards. In Committee, my hon. Friends raised concerns about the limitations of clause 126, which seeks to ensure that landlords take “reasonable steps” to pursue other potential means of recovering the costs before passing them on to leaseholders. We of course believe it is right that landlords be forced to exhaust all means of funding remediation works other than passing on costs to leaseholders, whether that be seeking redress from the original developer in cases where the two are not the same, exploring a claim against a warranty, or applying for grant funding; however, we remain of the view that this provision gives leaseholders extremely limited protection in practice and we want that to be supplemented with additional provisions for maximum legal protection against the costs of remediating all historical defects—an objective that I know is widely shared across the House, as evidenced by the numerous amendments on the amendment paper today relating in one way or another to leaseholder protection. I will speak on that issue in more detail later in my remarks.

Clause 128 relates to limitation periods and makes changes to the operation of the Defective Premises Act. We supported the proposed expansion of the Act but remain of the view that there are considerable practical obstacles to leaseholders’ successfully securing redress via that mechanism—a point made by the right hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead (Sir Mike Penning) and my hon. Friend the Member for Blackley and Broughton (Graham Stringer)—not least given the prevalent use of special purpose vehicles precisely to avoid liabilities of this kind. We believe that the Government are in general overplaying the significance of litigation as a solution of the building safety crisis.

While of course we all welcome the extension, in practical terms, our constituents who have, staring at them from the table, bills for sums of money that they cannot afford, will not be in a position to start a legal action that may take several years, at enormous cost and risk and with no guarantee that it will reach a satisfactory conclusion, as my hon. Friend is so ably pointing out. It is not an answer to the problems that so many of our constituents are facing now.

My right hon. Friend, as so often, is absolutely right that it is an uphill struggle for leaseholders to get together to begin legal action of this kind. He also raises the highly pertinent point that there is nothing in the Bill that prevents freeholders today from passing on costs to those blameless victims of the crisis.

Does my hon. Friend agree that there is a real opportunity here for the Department to link up with the companies registrar and companies law, and to use the options that exist there to take action early against directors who repeatedly set up these special purpose vehicles, repeatedly carry out substandard developments, and repeatedly liquidate those companies, leaving no assets for leaseholders to act against, and who it appears are in no way acted against, either proactively or reactively, under companies law or by Companies House?

My hon. Friend makes a very good point, which she has made in other debates in this place with regard to unscrupulous developers operating in her constituency. Changes to company law certainly warrant further consideration in that respect.

May I add the problem that leaseholders do not have an interest in a brick of their building and that a claim would need to be made on their behalf by the freeholders to the landlord, who would require indemnity costs from the leaseholders who cannot pay?

May I, through the hon. Gentleman, suggest to the Government that between now and the House of Lords they consider taking a right to take the potential claims by the landlords on behalf of leaseholders into a public agency which can make a public claim against the developers, builders, architects, surveyors, building specification and building controllers, so that money can be brought back from those who were responsible, not the innocent leaseholders who are not?

I thank the Father of the House for that intervention. That is a very good suggestion, which I hope the Minister will take on board and give some considered thought to.

Notwithstanding our concerns with regard to the limitations of the Defective Premises Act, we argued forcefully in Committee for the Bill to be revised so that the period for claims under the 1972 Act be extended from six to 30 years, rather than from six to the 15 years the Government proposed. In response, the Minister urged my hon. Friends to withdraw our amendment on the grounds that a 15-year limitation period was appropriate and indeed that any further retrospective extension beyond 15 years would increase the chances of the legislation being tested against the Human Rights Act and found wanting. Because that argument was never convincing, we are extremely pleased that the Government have reconsidered their position on this matter in the light of the case made by my hon. Friends in Committee, and have brought forward amendments 41 and 42, which provide for that 30-year limitation period, as well as changes to the initial period. We fully support both amendments.

We also believe that new clauses 11 and 12, proposed by the hon. Members for Stevenage (Stephen McPartland) and for Southampton, Itchen (Royston Smith), warrant support. If the Government genuinely believe that litigation has a significant part to play in helping to fix the building safety crisis, they need to give serious consideration to permitting a limited class of claims relating to pure economic loss, rather than just actual physical damage.

Clauses 129 to 134 concern the new homes ombudsman scheme, the creation of which we support, albeit, as the Minister will know, with some concerns about its operational independence and the composition of the new homes quality board. While we remain unconvinced that the new ombudsman and the new code will lead to a step change in developer behaviour and thus a marked increase in the quality of new homes, we see no issue with the scheme being expanded to cover Wales and Scotland, so we support the various Government amendments to that effect under consideration today.

Finally, I want to turn to amendments relating to the fundamental and contentious issue of leaseholder liability. I know I need not detain the House for any great length of time on why it is essential that greater legal protection for leaseholders be put on the face of the Bill.

My hon. Friend is making excellent progress. My constituents living in unsafe homes due to unsafe cladding feel trapped and isolated in their homes. Does he agree that the Government need to work with lenders to see if properties caught up in the cladding scandal can be sold and re-mortgaged?

My constituency neighbour, who shares many of the same case load issues relating to the building safety crisis as I do, is absolutely right. A lot that flows from the Secretary of State’s statement last week depends on lenders, insurers and other stakeholders agreeing with the Government’s approach. We wait to see whether that bears any fruit. We know there have been occasions when the Government have made announcements and the industries in question have not responded as the Government expected.

For many leaseholders across the country, lots of whom are first-time buyers who diligently saved to purchase their homes, all but the most superficial remediation and secondary costs will simply be unaffordable. The reason the building safety crisis has caused and continues to cause such abject misery is because so many blameless leaseholders not only feel trapped in their homes physically, mentally and financially, but because they feel let down by the Government. Despite allocating significant public funds to cover the costs of remediation for some buildings and repeatedly promising that all leaseholders should be fully protected, the Government nevertheless, until very recently, had only committed to shielding a proportion of leaseholders from unaffordable costs, which were defined by one Minister a few years ago, if memory serves, as “anything short of bankruptcy.” I must make it clear to this Minister that it has come as a bitter blow to the countless blameless leaseholders across the country who have already been hit with huge bills, both for remediation works and for interim fire safety measures, that the Secretary of State made clear in his statement last Monday that the Government have no plans to secure retrospective financial redress for them. We think that Ministers need to think again about that issue. However, he did commit in that statement, repeatedly and clearly, to bringing forward amendments to the Bill to provide leaseholders with the “most robust legal protection”, extending to

“all the work required to make buildings safe.”—[Official Report, 10 January 2022; Vol. 706, c. 291.]

Given that he rarely misspeaks, that clearly suggests historic non-cladding and historic external wall-related defects. I hope that the Minister can confirm as much today when he responds on this group of amendments.

That robust legal protection for leaseholders is what this legislation must contain, and it is disappointing that no Government amendments providing for it have been tabled for consideration today.

I am going to make some progress, if the hon. Member will forgive me. That legal protection must be delivered as a matter of urgency and in a way that brings immediate protection for leaseholders, because, as I have said, there is currently nothing, aside from the limited clauses in the Bill requiring them to take reasonable steps before they do, to prevent even more freeholders from passing on costs, as we know many are in the process of doing, even now, including several in my constituency, such as the Comer Group in the case of Mast Quay in Woolwich. As well as providing for the establishment of a building works agency, which we believe remains necessary if the Government are to ensure that the pace of remediation across the country is accelerated and that works are properly carried out and certified, our new clause 3 seeks to provide the maximum legal protection possible for leaseholders facing potential costs to fix historic cladding and non-cladding defects, irrespective of circumstance.

I fully support Labour’s new clause 3 and if there is a vote on it, I will be supporting it, particularly as subsection (6) would protect the small buy-to-let landlords the right hon. Member for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn) has referred to and I referred to in an intervention. As the hon. Gentleman knows, the scheme in Wales will be administered by the Welsh Government, so may I take it and inform my constituents that new clause 3 will be the basis of the scheme that we see apply to Wales, where Labour is in government?

It does apply to England and Wales, and I think that as a general point the Government need to co-operate much more closely with the Welsh Government on action on the building safety crisis.

As I was saying, new clause 13, proposed by the hon. Members for Stevenage and for Southampton, Itchen, does the same and we fully support it, as well as their new clauses 5 and 6. We will seek to divide on new clause 3 today, simply to reinforce to the other place the importance we attach to the issue of leaseholder protection, but we do want to work constructively with the Government on this matter in the period ahead, in the light of the change of tone and approach signalled by the Secretary of State last week. We hope that the absence of Government amendments providing for robust leaseholder protection today simply reflects the fact that they are not yet finalised and that we can expect them to be tabled, perhaps along with an amendment implementing a version of the polluter pays proposal, in the other place in due course. The Minister has had a couple of chances to answer this point and obfuscated to a certain extent, so I would appreciate it if he would clarify whether that is indeed the case in his closing remarks on this group, because many leaseholders across the country are seeking certainty on that point.

Does my hon. Friend agree that there is a fundamental point here: if for individual blocks of flats we cannot track down the developer or whoever else was involved in the construction and get them to pay through the legal process, and if the Secretary of State’s charm offensive does not persuade the industry as a whole voluntarily to cover these costs, would it not be absolutely wrong if the costs were, effectively, passed on to the social housing sector through cuts in the Department’s budget? Is the alternative, therefore, to look at an extension of the levy or taxation scheme to make the industry pay if it will not voluntarily agree to do so?

The Chair of the Select Committee is absolutely right; it would be a travesty if the Government or this Department were forced to raid the affordable homes programme to cover the costs of fixing the building safety crisis. In those circumstances, they would have to look at other options, such as those he has set out.

I will finish by using this brief opportunity to put to the Minister four issues relating to those expected Government amendments on leaseholder protection that arise directly from the commitments made by the Secretary of State last week. The first issue relates to the point mentioned by my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn) in his intervention: which leaseholders will any such robust legal protections cover? The Secretary of State’s statement last week caused a great deal of confusion in that area, so can the Minister clear up the matter today by making it clear that any such protections will apply to all leaseholders, not just leaseholder-occupiers and certainly not just the leaseholders that the Government deem, based on some unknown or unworkable criteria, to be deserving?

The second issue concerns the operational date of any forthcoming provisions. An entirely foreseeable consequence of last Monday’s statement is that any freeholder committed to passing on costs has a powerful incentive to do so before any potential changes to the law. We therefore urge the Government to consider making a retrospective operational date for any forthcoming amendments, linked to the date of last week’s announcement, for which, as the Minister will know, there is recent precedent in relation to the sale of new leasehold houses and onerous ground rents.

The third issue is the obvious need for protection in the interim period, which would be needed even if the Government were minded to legislate for a retrospective operational date. We therefore urge them to consider a new clause to specify that no charges can be levied for defined matters for, say, a period of 12 months. The Minister should note that, with some minor tweaks, our new clause 3 would achieve that.

The fourth issue is that, even if the Bill is ultimately amended to provide robust legal protection for leaseholders from remediation costs, onerous secondary costs remain. I fully accept that the Government have provided funding via the waking watch relief fund to mitigate the impact of associated costs, but that funding has not fully resolved the problems faced by leaseholders in this regard. We therefore urge them to think further about how protection might extend to secondary costs such as surveys, assessments and interim fire safety measures.

In conclusion, we remain supportive of this important piece of legislation and we welcome various Government amendments that will improve part 5 of the Bill, but we wish to see it strengthened further with regard to robust legal protection for leaseholders. I hope that the Minister will give serious consideration to some of the points that I have raised in relation to that fundamental issue, so that we can not only soon introduce a new regulatory framework that is fit for purpose but finally do right by all the blameless victims of the building safety scandal who can still be protected from financial ruin.

Order. I remind the House that today’s proceedings are divided into three. This is the first group of amendments, new clauses and new schedules that relates to part 5 of the Bill. There will then be another stage on Report that will allow Members to speak to amendments on the other parts of the Bill. After that, there will be Third Reading. Members should not make general speeches about how they feel about the Bill at this point; this part of the proceedings very specifically relates to part 5.

As all the Back-Bench amendments to part 5 have been tabled by Mr Stephen McPartland, I will call him to speak first. At this point, I am not putting on a time limit, because I hope that we will manage without one, but we have less than an hour left for this part of the Bill, so I hope that Members will bear that in mind.

In the interest of helping with time, I assure you, Madam Deputy Speaker, that after what the Minister said and the conversations that we have had in the past few days and overnight, we will not be pressing any of our amendments, which are probing amendments, to a vote at the end of the debate. That will hopefully help the next debate.

Like you, Madam Deputy Speaker, I saw many hon. Members on both sides of the House stand to signal that they wish to speak. I will try to keep my remarks as brief as possible so that some of them get more than their normal three minutes on this issue. They are all watching eagerly, so I will do my best.

I start by recording my thanks to the Minister, the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister’s intervention has been key in getting us to where we are on leaseholders. He has personally got involved and tried to ensure that we can support them. It is a subject that is close to his heart. To be frank, without his personal intervention and support, we would not have got to where we are, which is a good place for leaseholders.

Millions of leaseholders up and down the country are watching this debate and they are terrified about what is happening to them. They have had the fear of bankruptcy hanging over them for several years. We have been running this campaign for the past 18 months. In fairness to the Government and the Minister, we now have over £9 billion of Government support put forward with other funds on top, so it would be churlish of us, with the very technical amendments I am going to speak to shortly, to try to hold the Government to these specific issues. The Minister, the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister himself have made it clear that they are very keen to work with us and cross-party to improve the Bill in the Lords and when it comes back to this House, and for that I put on record my thanks.

I congratulate the hon. Member on his amendments and his work on this issue. Does he agree that there is a requirement to move with haste? A constituent of mine who has contacted me is facing a bill of £25,000, with a demand for £5,000 by the end of this month, so the Government really need to move very quickly.

I completely accept that point, and the hon. Member will know that we are all in the same position. Every single community is affected up and down the country; there are millions of leaseholders.

The new approach that the Government are taking mirrors a lot of what we want in our amendments on these issues. For example, a number of the amendments I am going to speak to refer to redress. We asked for a period of 25 years, and the Government have come forward with 30 years. We asked for the time in which someone can make a claim to be extended from 90 days to two years, and the Government have come forward with one year. That demonstrates the communication going on behind the scenes and what we are trying to do to deliver success for leaseholders. In some ways, it does not really matter what our opinions are in this place; what matters is what we deliver for those millions of leaseholders up and down the country, so that they do not face bankrupting bills and huge mental health issues.

Without the calm persistence of my hon. Friend and our hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen (Royston Smith) in this parliamentary year and the one before, we would not have got this far and, on behalf of 1 million leaseholders in all parts of England and Wales, may I say that we are grateful for their efforts? Will they please keep going?

I am very grateful to the Father of the House, and I would like to thank the cladding groups up and down the country, such as End Our Cladding Scandal UK, the UK Cladding Action Group and the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership. I record my thanks to the Father of the House and all my colleagues on both sides of the House who have done everything they can to get us to a position where we are working together to secure something that is in the best interests of leaseholders. The way in which the tone has changed, as all of us who have been working on this Bill have seen, and the way in which we now feel we can give the Government room to try to improve the Bill, give us great hope.

A number of the amendments—new clauses 4 to 13 —are specific technical amendments to give the Government examples of how we could fix the problem. The Government have tabled 70 amendments, but of course they still have to come forward with the amendments that we want in the Lords, otherwise the Bill will come back to this House and we will be in the same position, so I think it is important that we continue our efforts.

One of the issues facing leaseholders was the real frustration that VAT is levied on some of the costs. We are asking for the VAT to be scrapped, because when the Treasury puts forward £5 billion, £1 billion of it will be going back to the Treasury automatically; the frustration is understandable. Another example we give is how a previous defects Act—the Defective Premises Act 1972—could be used, as it was for properties with prefabricated concrete. The legislation exists, and these leasehold properties could be incorporated in it. There are a variety of other amendments on technical points, and they are the means of giving the Government examples of how we can support leaseholders.

There is a huge opportunity with new clauses 4 to 13 for the Government to think a little further outside the box. For example, I have a property in my constituency, Vista Tower—one of the famous properties—where the remediation costs are £15 million for 73 flats. The leaseholders paid £200,000 for their flats, and their remediation costs are £212,000, so hon. Members can understand what we are doing and why we originally got involved in this debate. Those people are beyond bankrupt. The mortgage companies are losing money, and that was before the leaseholders got into paying over £300,000 for waking watch and all the other interim costs that have added to the bills.

The Government have come with us and are working in a place where we can try to fix the problem, but there is still a lot more to do. Collectively across the House, we have to find a way forward. For that particular property, with the announcement that the Secretary of State made, leaseholders’ costs went from £200,000 down to £60,000. If we can get commitments from Ministers to include internal developer-responsible fire safety defects such as missing firebreaks, where the developers illegally constructed the building, leaseholders’ costs will collapse again.

I keep asking the Minister every time he looks at me, speaks to me or walks past me whether he will commit to protecting leaseholders in law with his amendments in the Lords. Obviously we all want that, and it is what leaseholders want, because we want to be in a position legally where we can say to a management company or freeholder, “You can’t charge them for this, and you can’t tell them”—as the hon. Member for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr (Jonathan Edwards) has referred to—“that they’ve got 28 days to make this payment.” That is ridiculous, and it is not fair. The Government are working with us and listening to us, but there is a lot more work to do. I would like to continue working with the Government to ensure that we get out there and protect leaseholders.

Madam Deputy Speaker is now staring at me, so I shall bring my remarks to a swift conclusion. I would like to thank everybody who supported us throughout the campaign. We are not there yet, but we are very close to getting there and supporting millions of constituents up and down the country. I will not be pressing my amendments.

The principle that leaseholders should not have to pay for issues that are not their responsibility, as they bought properties in good faith, was first established in the Select Committee report in July 2018. I congratulate the hon. Member for Stevenage (Stephen McPartland) on the excellent work he has done in pursuing this issue from the Conservative Benches. The Select Committee, on a cross-party basis, has pursued it as well. I checked today, and we have done five separate reports, all of which have said that leaseholders should not have to pay. The hon. Member for Harrow East (Bob Blackman), who is in his place, has been party to all those discussions and reports. We have worked on an absolutely cross-party basis, as is correct. It is welcome that the Secretary of State made his statement the other day and effectively confirmed that as well. We have made it clear that this problem does not just apply to cladding; it applies to other defects as well. That has been an important issue, which the Government did not accept to begin with but have now got to the point of accepting.

The Government have responded with the initial money to deal with the aluminium composite material cladding that was on Grenfell, and then with the £1 billion—extended to £5 billion—building safety fund. That has been a step forward, but it will not cover the totality of the cost. We on the Select Committee have said right from the beginning that those who are responsible for defects on individual buildings should have to pay, but we recognise the impossibility of leaseholders taking on legal actions and being successful with them. Certainly, the Government are stepping in and adding some weight to try to involve the developers of buildings—the building firms that did the construction work—and the product suppliers. Of course, an awful lot of responsibility lies with them; Dame Judith Hackett’s report identified how many of the suppliers of products and materials were hawking their wares from one testing station to another until they found one that approved them. That is completely unacceptable, and they should be held to account as well. In the end, there will be many buildings for which even the owners, and certainly the initial developers, cannot be properly traced, and there may have to be a responsibility placed on the whole industry.

I come back to the point that I just raised with my hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich and Woolwich (Matthew Pennycook): what happens if the industry does not volunteer the money that is necessary? Let us make it clear that social housing providers are already having to pay some of the costs. On the initial scheme for ACM cladding, social housing providers were treated equally with private owners. That has not been the case since with the building safety fund. A social housing provider has to show almost extreme distress to get any money.

What is happening now? An interesting article in Inside Housing says that social housing providers, particularly housing associations, are passing on 500% increases in service costs—not just to leaseholders, but to tenants. It is absolutely wrong that among people living side by side in a flat, the leaseholder should eventually be protected through the legislation that we hope eventually to see from the Government, which is to be welcomed, while the tenant next door has to pay extra costs—not merely for their own flat, but possibly to take up the costs on the flat next door, which is now owned by a leaseholder. That cannot be right, that cannot be fair, and that cannot be just. The challenge is to treat social housing tenants the same. We are hearing evidence all the time—from housing associations, the National Housing Federation, the Local Government Association and councils—that the costs that are being incurred by social housing providers are not merely adding to the costs of their tenants but mean that they are cutting back on future house building programmes. That is what is happening and it has to be addressed.

It is happening now on a very large scale. This is what one of my major social landlords said about remedial works:

“The cost of this…is in the tens of millions of pounds and has led to us having to significantly reduce our development plans and slow down some of the investment work that we had planned to complete in our existing homes. If we were to try and fund the costs of this work for our leaseholders…this would effectively mean that social housing rents were being used to subsidise costs for leaseholders.”

It is robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Absolutely. We have those immediate problems with the costs that are being borne by social housing providers.

If, in the end, the Government cannot get the money from the industry on a voluntary basis, and the Treasury is saying that there will be no extra money from the central pot and no extra taxation or levy, then there will be a cut to the Department’s own programmes, which effectively means the social housing programmes for the future. That will be another cutback to the badly needed homes that should otherwise be built. I say to the Minister and to my own Front-Bench colleagues that, in the end, these are the principles that we have to achieve: no costs on leaseholders, no costs on tenants, and no cuts to the future social house building programme either.

We have less than three quarters of an hour left, so I will have to impose an initial time limit of four minutes on Back-Bench speeches.

It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Sheffield South East (Mr Betts), the Chairman of the Select Committee. He and I have spent many happy hours poring over this draft Bill, in the first place, and, going forward, different reports.

Essentially, there are four separate categories on remediation that fit within the Building Safety Bill. The first, as everyone agrees without question, is, for tall buildings of seven storeys and above, removing the cladding and making the building safe. The second is the buildings of six storeys and below for which the Government came up with the forced loan scheme. I am delighted to see the death of that scheme. I could never see how it was going to work, so that is good news. The other two categories are the tall buildings with fire safety defects and the buildings of six storeys and below with fire safety defects. We can all agree that the one set of people who should not have to pay for remedying this are the leaseholders, because they never designed them and they never knew anything about them before they moved in. However, this scandal still goes on. Only last week, a planning application was presented to the planning committee at Tower Hamlets for a building of 52 storeys with only one staircase as a route to escape. The building industry does not show any signs of correcting what has been done, so we have to correct it.

I take my right hon. Friend the Minister’s remarks seriously. I look forward to the amendments that are going to be moved in the other place that I hope we can then debate here. However, these are very complex areas and there are immense questions to be answered. I well remember that when we debated the Bill that became the Fire Safety Act 2021, we were told that protecting leaseholders should not be done then but we should wait for the Building Safety Bill—and here we are, right now. The crunch issue is that leaseholders up and down the country have received enormous bills. Some have made arrangements to pay; some have even paid them. They are told, “Tough—you’ve paid and you won’t be compensated as a result.” If we had moved the amendments to the Fire Safety Act, we would have protected those leaseholders, but we failed to do so.

As I have said to the Secretary of State, I welcome his commitment to resolve this issue, but I trust that when we come to the amendments on remediation, we will do two things. The first is that we will retrospectively put a date on what happens. It will not be acceptable to wait until this Bill becomes law and facilitate the unscrupulous individuals who may bill the leaseholders between now and then, which would be outrageous.

The other issue that is terribly important in this whole process is that at some stage, with regard to all the buildings that we are talking about, someone signed off on their being in accordance with regulations. Insurance covers that particular aspect, so here is an alternative solution. Given that insurance companies insured the people who signed these buildings off, and they were clearly not in accordance with the regulations at the time, let us make claims against the insurance companies that still exist and could be made to pay for this remediation. That would be a much better solution than either the taxpayer paying or robbing the leaseholders. It would at least give us some protection.

I welcome the Government amendments, and I welcome the conversion that has taken place in the Department to what the Select Committee said in the first place. We are making progress. We are almost there. We have only a little a little way to go before every single one of our recommendations has been endorsed. We look forward to that happening, and indeed to having a Bill of which we can all be proud, which protects leaseholders and protects the industry for the future.

Let me begin by echoing the sentiments expressed earlier. We must be mindful of all those who died tragically in the Grenfell fire, which prompted much of the work that we are debating today.

The majority of the Bill relates only to England or to England and Wales, so I will necessarily keep my remarks on behalf to the Scottish National party short. I am sure that that will be music to many ears in the Chamber.

We can all agree on the necessity and the importance of raising the standards of conduct of developers. House buyers need to have confidence in the safety and quality of their homes, which is why the Scottish Government support the principle of the new homes ombudsman scheme proposed in part 5 of the Bill. Housing is devolved to the Scottish Parliament, who could devise their own provisions for a Scottish system, but the benefits of having a single system to operate on a UK-wide basis are self-evident. However, it is also true to say that the scheme must fully meet the needs of Scotland, so this Bill ought to confer greater powers to Scottish Ministers, similar to those of the Secretary of State. It is essential for part 5 to acknowledge and respect the devolution settlement. The Secretary of State and, I am sure, the Minister will understand that SNP co-operation in relation to the new homes ombudsman scheme in no way diminishes our opposition to the form and intention of the United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020.

It is fully expected that meaningful consultation will minimise the risk that the ombudsman scheme is contrary to the wishes and aspirations of the Scottish Government, so that homeowners in Scotland can benefit from it. If that turns out not to be the case, the Scottish Government have the option to withdraw from the scheme without contractual penalties and other repercussions. No one would wish to see that happen, and we need to be assured that the Minister and the Department will work, and continue to work, in a collaborative, consultative and collegiate way with the Scottish Government to deliver the scheme for Scotland.

In that spirit, I say to the Minister that given the confusion and delay over issues of cladding, nearly five years since the tragedy of Grenfell, we need a clear commitment that he will work constructively with the Scottish Government to provide clarity about consequential funding, so that the Scottish Government can plan their response appropriately. Will he tell us how much funding there will be, and when it will be delivered to Scotland?

I understand that the Secretary of State has committed himself to working with the Scottish Government on these matters—and no doubt the Minister has done so as well—but certainty is important. I am sure the Minister will understand that, so I am keen to hear what he has to say about the timing, levels and delivery of the funds that Scotland can expect.

Let me begin by paying tribute to my constituents and the community of north Kensington.

I welcome the Bill, and I welcomed last week’s announcements that leaseholders in intermediate buildings would not have to pay for the remediation of cladding and other fire safety defects. I understand from the Minister that this will be incorporated in legislation in the other place. I want to stress how crucial it is that we get that right: it is critically important that we have robust legal protection for leaseholders. I welcome the statement that those on the Front Bench will listen to all good ideas, but it is important for us to be able to put this into practice quickly and effectively. I ask the Minister, as did my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow East (Bob Blackman) and the Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee, the hon. Member for Sheffield South East (Mr Betts), to ensure that when the Bill comes back to this place, there is the opportunity for full debate and full scrutiny.

A number of Members said that some developers and freeholders have been behaving very badly, and I have such a situation in my constituency. Leaseholders in Collier House have paid for the remediation and the building is eligible for an existing fund, yet the building owner, outrageously, will not apply for those moneys. He does not want to get involved because the leaseholders have already paid. Such situations are clearly wrong in terms of how people should behave. I ask the Minister, as colleagues have, to ensure that we look to remedy situations where leaseholders have paid and take that into consideration. We need to find solutions, because they paid thinking that they were doing the right thing, and they may now be out of pocket as a result.

In conclusion, I very much welcome the direction of travel. However, it will be critically important to get the proposals right in the other place, and I ask that we have the opportunity for full scrutiny of what the other place decides.

I offer my support to the hon. Member for Kensington (Felicity Buchan). My thoughts are still with her community five years after the disaster. I am sure that the whole House would echo that support for her community.

I also thank the Minister for allowing me to intervene and for partially addressing my points. However, I want to expand on them, because they are very relevant to our discussions. The challenges for many people in my community will come from the sheer complexity of the situation. It is extremely stressful for many leaseholders and tenants, as Members across the House have said. It is very difficult for them to live in buildings with enormous problems. In many cases, they have suffered from these problems for some years, living in a period of prolonged stress and difficulty—both emotional and financial stress—and I look forward to working with the Minister and the Government to try to deal with this very serious problem.

I will highlight some of the practical difficulties that we need to tackle, as the shadow Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich and Woolwich (Matthew Pennycook), mentioned. The great difficulty for many residents in my constituency and others is that the routes to redress are limited. In many cases, the legal route that the Minister outlined will be extremely difficult.

Perhaps I can describe the type of blocks that I am referring to. Many of the cases in Reading and in Woodley—a town next to the main town of Reading—involve low-rise blocks, so there has been a delay because they are lower- rise. There are problems from issues other than cladding, and many tenants and leaseholders live in these blocks. In one of the biggest neighbourhoods in Reading, there is a large area called Chatham Place, with a series of blocks and a series of different problems, including wooden cladding, balconies and a range of other things. There is also a combination of leaseholders and social housing tenants in the same block. There are multiple problems, and the Minister is right to explore the legal route to redress, but there are very serious challenges because of the difficulty of getting a group of people together to take action and of tracing the legal entities, companies, developers—in some cases, the developers are overseas—architects and the range of others involved. I ask the Minister to work with Opposition Members to look at the issue again and explore other avenues for toughening up the Bill. I look forward to the Lords amendments and I ask him to come back and look at this Bill again in more detail.

I wish to make two other points, also on behalf of local authorities and housing associations. The first point, which was raised with me by a local council that represents a town centre ward in Reading, was the difficulty, even now, for local authority officers to understand the exact guidance on different types of cladding. The issue of flammable insulation in walls was raised with me and there does not seem to be a clear answer on that. Secondly, in my area, housing associations were some of the first building owners to take action. However, as was rightly mentioned, these housing associations and their tenants could inadvertently be penalised. Please will the Minister look into that and provide reassurance?

I restate my welcome for the Minister’s tone and approach to the Bill, as well as that of the Secretary of State, and I pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Stevenage (Stephen McPartland). The Minister’s approach does enable some of us to support the Government in the Lobby tonight when we might have been tempted to do otherwise, given their clear undertaking to look at the substance—at any rate—of the significant number of amendments in my hon. Friend’s name, which I and many other Conservative Members have signed. We look forward to taking that forward.

I stress again in particular that leaseholder protection is critical. The right hon. Member for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn) made an important point on that, and as someone who has spent all his working life involved in litigation of one kind or another, I can tell my right hon. Friend the Minister that the legal route is always a risky one and always an expensive one.

The real problem that we need to deal with is the position of residents such as mine in Northpoint in Bromley. Their flats are unmortgageable, they have exhausted their funds on a waking watch and other remedial measures, and they cannot realistically rent out their flats—perhaps some can—so it is not realistic to suggest that collectively or individually they could fund legal action against their landlord, which is an offshore property trust. I have nothing against giving leaseholders the ability to litigate—where that can be done, that is fine—but that will not be the answer for many people, so we need a fail-safe system to protect them. The best route is a form of liability clearly falling on the developer. That is supported by the Law Society, which recognises the value of litigation in its right place but also its limitations, and I hope that the Government will work with the Law Society, which has real expertise in such matters, to strengthen the provisions.

I turn to finding a means of capturing the consequential defects, which I have previously raised with the Minister. We have done a lot on that already—I welcome what was done with the waking watch relief fund and so on—but there are still a number of areas not yet explicitly covered by the Bill’s provisions where the fault, and therefore the cost on the leaseholder, flows clearly and demonstrably from the regulatory failure or the failure by the developer to build in accordance with the regulations then in place. My right hon. Friend and I have talked about the protection required for that—I am glad that the loan scheme has gone, because that was not fair—which could be some form of insurance arrangement, or the Government by some means funding the cash flow to enable works to be done and recouping that through a levy system from those in the industry who are at fault in some way. I think that would be perfectly workable. He has moved a good way towards that, and I ask him to continue talking to those involved about taking that one stage further to deal with that important issue.

Finally, I specifically commend to the Minister new clause 10, which stands in my name and that of a number of hon. Friends, which is about the 25-year post-sale insurance cover. That is really important. Again, the Law Society supports the measure, and I think that there is a lot of recognition of the good sense of that from the insurance sector, too. If he could take that on board, that would remove a great deal of risk of future litigation, should—heaven forbid—things go wrong in the future.

We have had a constructive set of proposals from the Government, but there is still more to do. I thank the Minister, but I hope that, in the spirit in which he started, he will take away the means to work constructively across the House to deal with people who are in an appalling situation through absolutely no fault of their own. That is what we need to stress time and again.

When we started on the Fire Safety Bill, I tabled the first amendment to the Bill to try to protect leaseholders from these unimaginable, eye-watering costs. The Government said repeatedly that that Bill was not the place for it. Eighteen months on, we have had a huge cross-party effort, and while we are considering this second piece of legislation there is still no guarantee to protect leaseholders from those costs in law. The Government’s tone has changed, and I welcome that, but their position has not. I welcome talk about working cross-party and collaboratively, but I urge the Minister and the Government to make clear assurances on the record today, because I do not believe that the good will displayed in the House will last much longer if we do not get better answers.

The Secretary of State announced last week that the loan scheme will be scrapped and that cladding costs will be covered for buildings over 11 metres. Where is that statutory protection? It should be on the amendment paper today, and we should be discussing it in this House, not kicking it into the long grass.

On non-cladding problems and fire safety defects, the Minister must be aware that since the Secretary of State made his announcement last week there has been a huge rush of bills and enforcement notices because freeholders think they can get away with suddenly asking leaseholders to pay for these first safety defects. Will the Minister make a strong statement at the Dispatch Box today that he intends to issue a moratorium on freeholders issuing such enforcement notices, as that is what is needed?

I welcome that action under the Defective Premises Act will be extended to 30 years, but the Minister knows as well as I do that, as we showed in Committee, the current legislation is condemning leaseholders to years and years of litigation, litigation, litigation. In some cases, they may have to take their freeholders to court twice before they can take those responsible to court. That is not a satisfactory situation.

The Government keep saying that they want to work with freeholders and developers to find a voluntary solution, but cladding victims and fire safety victims have given the Government the answer time and again. They are asking the Government to stump up the cash to make homes safe and to use their power to go after those responsible.

I listened very carefully to the Minister’s carefully crafted answers on when we might see some of these legal protections. I note that the Bill’s Second Reading in the House of Lords is scheduled for the start of February, yet the Secretary of State has indicated that he wishes to continue his discussions with those responsible until March. When questioned by other hon. Members on whether the House of Lords will see these amendments, the Minister said it “may include” in the other place, not that it “would include”. Will he make a clear commitment from the Dispatch Box today that the statutory protections announced last week will, in fact, be amendments to this Bill, that those amendments will be introduced in the other place, and that sufficient time will be provided in this House for us to discuss them? If the Government make any attempt to railroad this Bill through without those protections in place, he will have a very significant cross-party fight on his hands.

I do not think there is a conflict, but I refer to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. As an ex-fireman, although my concerns and thoughts are with the victims of the Grenfell fire and their families and loved ones, I say that we must put on the record our thanks to the emergency services, and particularly the firefighters, who have to live with what they saw—most of them will never have seen such an incident in their life. They went in one direction while, quite understandably, the public went in the other.

I do not disagree with anything I have heard in the House today. My constituency neighbour, the hon. Member for St Albans (Daisy Cooper), and I are as one. If this is not sorted in the other House, as promised, we in this House will sort it. That is not a threat but a promise. The Minister, the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister, as we heard, have been brilliant in changing direction. They realised the risk that no thought at all had been given to leaseholders.

I declare an interest because my daughter has a leasehold property. When she bought it, why would she have dreamed that this situation would occur and she would face such penalties?

When I intervened on the Minister, I said I would mention a way out. Those hon. Members who have been here long enough will remember that I took the Mesothelioma Act 2014 through this House. The Act compensated people whose lives, through no fault of their own, had been devastated by asbestos. We could not fine the insurers, the companies, the directors or the shareholders, so they had suffered and they had not got compensation. This Bill is an opportunity to resolve the problem for leaseholders where we cannot impose fines.

There is no reason why leaseholders should drag themselves through the courts. We are trying to sort the matter out in this House. We should put a levy on the insurers. Without any doubt, the insurers got the premium from these companies, because otherwise they would not have been allowed to build the properties, so liability insurance was in place. The fact that we cannot find the developers—some have gone offshore in parts of my constituency—is irrelevant now. If we can find them, fine, but if not, we will levy the insurers.

We do not need to reinvent the wheel. We have already done it with the mesothelioma Bill. Originally, we gave the victims 80% of the compensation that they would have got through the courts. Eventually, we gave them 100%. This House was unanimous in its support of the Bill as it went through its stages. It was probably one of the easiest Bills that I have taken through the House—apart from having to pronounce mesothelioma, which, to this day, still troubles me, as Members may have notice.

This is an option that I have mentioned to the Minister before. I have said that his civil servants can come and talk to me, or to anybody at the Department for Work and Pensions who took that legislation through. I am more than happy for that to happen. Sadly, though, no one has talked to me about this—I am gently looking towards the civil servants in the Box, which I am not meant to do. This is a great opportunity to right a wrong that we can see coming down the line here.

Were claims to go through the courts, they would be aimed at the developers, the builders, the architects, the surveyors, the component suppliers, the building controllers and the building regulations specifiers, all of whom were insured or operating under Government. We need to get them altogether around the table and say, “What will be the total liability?” We would save the lawyers’ costs and get the money in very fast. Leaseholders will be protected. Their homes will be safe and they will be saleable.

The Father of the House is absolutely right. When we put to the insurers this idea that they should compensate those people whose lives and loved ones had been affected by the asbestos, did they like it? No, they hated it. They fought tooth and nail not to do it, but we did it, and we did the right thing. When we come to part 5, Mr Deputy Speaker, I hope to catch your eye again.

May I just touch on a point that many colleagues have raised today? If people, in fear of threatening letters from lawyers and bailiffs, paid the remedial costs on their lease in good faith, how can it be right for us in this House to say that they did the wrong thing, while the people who held off paying those costs did the right thing? That sticks in my throat. It cannot be right that we penalise people who feel that they did the right thing. I said this to the Secretary of State during his statement. I am not saying that he dismissed it; he probably just thinks it is very difficult. Yes, it is very difficult, but that is what this place is for—when things become difficult, we resolve the problem. We have an opportunity with the insurers.

As we have heard from Members across the House, these bills are dropping on people’s doorsteps now, and it is happening in my constituency. They are innocent people who have done nothing wrong other than wanting to get on the housing ladder. Today we have an opportunity to address this. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Stevenage (Stephen McPartland) that we do not need to move these amendments now. We will wait to see what happens when the Bill goes to the Lords, but by golly we will move them if it comes back.

The one thing that has united the House today has been support for the principle embodied in new clause 13. There is a huge burden of expectation now on the shoulders of the Minister and the Secretary of State because of the commitment that was given in the recent statement, and we are all anxious to see how the Government intend to fulfil it.

The right hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead (Sir Mike Penning), whom it is a great pleasure to follow, asked earlier what happens if the funds are not forthcoming from those who are still in existence who were responsible. The answer is that there is a mechanism already in place, which is the levy that the Government previously announced. I have no objection to adding insurers to those who are levied, because it is a collective failure on the part of the industry. That is the point. Even if we put on one side debates about cladding, for every one of the buildings that have been discovered to have missing fire breaks, I can guarantee that the plans specified that the fire breaks should be installed, but they were not. As a result, we have a generation of shoddy, unsafe buildings and it is our constituents who are feeling the pain.

Secondly, once we have sorted out who is paying, we really have to find a way of getting the work done. I must say to the Minister that having observed, as we all have, the back-and-forth between managing agents, freeholders, developers and the building safety fund, we can see that that is not a very efficient way to solve the problem. That is why the buildings works agency approach that my hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich and Woolwich (Matthew Pennycook) spoke about earlier is such a good idea. It is a good idea for two reasons. First, we would have a body whose job was to find, fix, fund and then recoup through the levy that we have discussed, which would be quicker. Secondly, it would avoid the stand-offs that are taking place. I have seen one case where the expert advisers to the building owners have said that the zinc cladding on wooden battens is not safe, but the building safety fund has said that it is.

Another reason that the Government should adopt our proposal for a buildings works agency is that it would be the perfect vehicle to review the safety assessment of all of the buildings, which the Secretary of State spoke about last week, and in the end be the referee—the judge and the jury—that says what is safe, what works and what work needs to be done.

The last point I want to make is about the need for speed. We are four and a half years on from Grenfell, and every single day that passes without the situation being resolved puts enormous strain on our constituents. They also have to shell out for the waking watches and insurance premiums that are the consequence of a problem for which they bear no responsibility whatsoever. Until the work is done, people’s flats continue to be worthless and they cannot get on with their lives. Some people have had to move out of their flat, get a new job in another part of the country and rent their flat out, and that is why it would be totally unfair to punish them for not being resident leaseholders. The sooner there is absolute clarity about what the statutory protection will look like, the sooner the work can be done and the day can eventually arrive when leaseholders can put behind them this groundhog day series of mornings when they have woken up thinking, “Oh my God, I am still stuck in this nightmare”, and instead wake up looking forward with some confidence to getting on with the rest of their lives.

I want to thank hon. Members across the House for the work they have put in. I also pay tribute to the Minister, whom I have spoken to on a number of occasions about the issues facing my constituency. I know that the Government have been listening and working really hard with colleagues to get to a place where people can be satisfied. As has been mentioned, the landscape is really complicated and the Government are trying to right some wrongs of the past.

I very much welcomed the Secretary of State’s statement last week, but I want to echo what has been said by colleagues across the House about what comes next and the protection that we will give to leaseholders. For example, at the Wharf in my constituency there has been a lack of clarity and transparency from the management company about the cladding and fire safety works that need to be carried out. The management company, Y&Y, is in the process of taking the leaseholders to a first-tier tribunal to award costs, adding a 5% commission. Since the statement last week, I have asked the management company if it could please pause this activity until the Government have moved further, but it has said that it will continue to go to the first-tier tribunal for costs. That will put some of the leaseholders in a really difficult position. Some of the people occupying those properties will not be able to pay those bills if the management company goes ahead with its actions before they have been given any security by the Minister, so I want to labour that point. We are also talking about historical payments that have been made, but this is happening as we speak.

One option for someone with a freehold property is normally to claim on their buildings insurance’s legal protection. A leaseholder has to pay the premium to the freeholder but does not have any protection. This is another area of the law that could be changed.

My right hon. Friend is quite right. I welcome many of the amendments, and I welcome a lot of what is in the Bill. I am pleased with the extension on limitations.

During covid, a fire ripped through a building on the Causeway in my constituency. Again, it is not a high-rise block and is under 18 metres. Other hon. Members have mentioned firebreaks and the lack of such work. Coincidentally, further structural defects have been found in the investigation work carried out after the fire. They would not have been found if the fire had not ripped through the building in 2020.

As my right hon. Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Sir Mike Penning) and my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow East (Bob Blackman) said, these buildings have been signed off. I was a marine surveyor in a previous life, and if I had signed off the builds of boats that had major defects, my professional indemnity insurance would have had to pay out and I might not have got insurance next time around because of my poor performance. How is it acceptable that people can sign off such buildings and give certificates to the residents—our constituents—who buy them? That gives the residents confidence in the quality and safety of what they are buying. We need to look at the insurance argument; it is a valid point. To be frank, it is a scandal that those poor individuals have bought those buildings. The profession has a lot to answer for, as far as I am concerned.

Ultimately, I want to press the Minister on what assurances and comfort he can give my constituents who are watching the debate and who have been following the Bill with bated breath for many months, hoping that it will be their salvation.

I shall speak to Opposition new clause 3 and to the amendments that, although they will not be pressed to a vote this evening, would protect leaseholders from the costs of not only cladding removal, but the remediation of non-cladding defects.

I can hardly believe that it is four and a half years since the horrific fire at Grenfell, and still we are fighting for the robust legal protection that leaseholders in my constituency and across the country need and deserve. It is too easy to assume that removing cladding is the beginning and end of the scandal; the costs of remediating non-cladding fire safety defects are just as ruinous, and blameless leaseholders should not be picking up those costs. I have seen for myself the extent of fire safety defects at various buildings in my constituency, including the Brindley House development, where the scale of the missing firebreaks and other defects was truly shocking. The people who were responsible for putting up that building were grossly negligent and, in my opinion, complete cowboys.

The regulatory failure whereby buildings were declared fit for human habitation when they contained defective or inappropriate fire safety measures, or when those measures were wholly absent, is staggering. When there were negligent and dishonest practices, the costs of remediation should not fall at the feet of my constituents. A commitment to full legal protection for leaseholders from all costs—both for the removal of dangerous cladding and for the remediation of all other fire safety defects—should have been added to the Bill today, because those issues are not new and have been the subject of intense debate for years.

Ministers and their officials know full well the contours of the debate and the issues at stake, so it is not good enough that the Government did not make such amendments today. Instead, we will have to wait to see whether full legal protection is made available when the Bill goes to the other place. We may understand parliamentary procedure and the different staging posts of a Bill, but to my constituents watching from the outside, every single staging post feels like a slap in the face when they are not given the full protection that they need and deserve.

I associate myself with the comments that have been made about insurance, particularly professional indemnity insurance, but I want to mention the increased insurance premiums that many of our constituents have faced across the country. I have been writing to the Government, the FCA and others for more than two years to ask for action against the insurance industry for the huge increase—the hike—in premiums that our cladding-affected leaseholders have faced. That increase bears no resemblance to the mitigations that our constituents have paid for to decrease the risks in their buildings.

People have paid hundreds of thousands of pounds for new fire alarm systems and internal compartmentation to try to bring the risk down in their buildings, yet that is never reflected in the insurance premiums that they have to pay. That is unconscionable. There are big questions for the wider insurance sector to answer, in addition to the buildings industry. It seems to me that someone who has profited from, for example, charging a building in my constituency an insurance premium of £700,000 in total, which has never come down, has some big questions to answer.

I hope that when the Minister brings the Bill back to this place, we get the time for adequate debate and the further amendments that we need. I hope that we take action on insurance and perhaps even—God help us—implore the FCA to do its job and stand by our constituents, who deserve the regulator’s protection. When the Bill comes back, I hope that it addresses all those issues, as it is high time that the Government did right by leaseholders.

I congratulate right hon. and hon. Members on their contributions to this important debate and to the amendments that we are debating. In the short time that I have, I will say that I entirely agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Stevenage (Stephen McPartland) and the hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Shabana Mahmood), who raised the terrible plight faced by her constituents at Brindley House, as did the Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street. Too many people, for far too long, have been far too worried. We have to end this scandal.

Several hon. Members asked whether we intend to bring forward legal protections in the House of Lords. I assure the House that we do. We certainly want to ensure that all leaseholders in medium and high-rise buildings, who live in them or who used to live in them but have had to move out and sub-let because of the situation in which they find themselves, will have put in place the robust legal protections to which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State referred. We want to work cross-party and with interested parties to ensure that those robust protections are right.

We believe that leaseholders should not be asked to pay anything further until those legal protections are in place, as was raised by several hon. Members on both sides of the House. I encourage any hon. Member who is aware of demands from freeholders that their leaseholders pay to make me or my officials aware of that demand.

I am also grateful for the points raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Sir Mike Penning) and my hon. Friend the Member for Rochester and Strood (Kelly Tolhurst) about the, shall we say, peculiarities of the insurance system. Some of those are wider issues that go beyond the Bill, but I am happy to discuss how we can resolve such issues with them.

I will certainly work collaboratively with the hon. Member for Reading East (Matt Rodda). I am conscious that my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Sir Robert Neill) is right that there are limitations through mitigation, but the law can change the culture. That is part of the point of bringing forward the Bill—to change the culture of the sector.

We will instigate a summit with the sector to ensure that it pays what it owes, and if it will not pay voluntarily, we will introduce appropriate mechanisms to ensure that it does. I am conscious that the Father of the House, my hon. Friend the Member for Worthing West (Sir Peter Bottomley), referred to the Defective Premises Act 1972. I may have misheard him, but I think he suggested that that Act is not available for use by leaseholders. That is not correct. Leaseholders are able to avail themselves of the Act, as may any freeholder.

I am conscious, Mr Deputy Speaker, that I have only 14 more seconds in which to speak. Let me reassure Members that we want to work across the House to bring forward sensible legal protections in amendments in the other place, and we will do that as soon as may be.

Debate interrupted (Programme Orders, 21 July 2021 and this day).

The Deputy Speaker put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair (Standing Order No. 83E), That the clause be read a Second time.

Question agreed to.

New clause 20 accordingly read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

The Deputy Speaker then put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that time (Standing Order No. 83E).

New Clause 21

Amendment of the Government of Wales Act 2006

“In Schedule 7B to the Government of Wales Act 2006 (general restrictions on legislative competence of Senedd Cymru), in paragraph 10(2), at the end insert—

‘(o) the new homes ombudsman.’”—(Christopher Pincher.)

This new clause removes the need for consent to a provision of an Act of Senedd Cymru which removes or modifies any function of the new homes ombudsman or which confers power to do so. The new clause will be inserted after clause 134.

Brought up, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 22

Architects: Appeals Committee

“(1) The Architects Act 1997 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 1 (the Board)—

(a) after subsection (2) insert—

‘(2A) There is to be an Appeals Committee of the Board.’;

(b) after subsection (4) insert—

‘(4A) Part 2A of that Schedule makes provision about the Appeals Committee.’

(3) In section 4 (registration: general)—

(a) in subsection (4)(b) for ‘refer the application to the Board’ substitute ‘refuse the application’;

(b) in subsection (6)—

(i) omit ‘(4) or’;

(ii) for the words from ‘direct’ to the end substitute ‘—

(a) direct the Registrar to enter the person’s name in the Register if it is satisfied that the person is entitled to be registered, or

(b) direct the Registrar to refuse the application if it is not so satisfied.’

(4) In section 6(4B) (notice of refusal of application) for the words from ‘in the case’ to ‘section 4(2A)’ substitute ‘of an application’.

(5) In section 9 (competence to practise) after subsection (2) insert—

‘(2A) A notice under subsection (2) must state reasons for the decision.’

(6) In Part 5 (general and supplementary) before section 22 insert—

‘21A Appeals to the Appeals Committee

(1) A person may appeal to the Appeals Committee against—

(a) a decision to refuse the person’s application for registration, or

(b) if the person is a person to whom paragraph (b) of section 9(1) applies, a decision to remove or not to re-enter the person’s name in the Register as a result of section 9(1).

(2) The Board may make rules about appeals to the Appeals Committee, including in particular rules about—

(a) the period within which any appeal must be made;

(b) the way in which an appeal is to be made or withdrawn;

(c) the fee that must be paid on the making of an appeal (including circumstances in which that fee may or must be refunded);

(d) the procedure to be followed by the Appeals Committee in relation to an appeal;

(e) the effect of the making of an appeal, pending its determination, on the decision appealed against.

(3) On the determination of an appeal, the Appeal Committee may make any decision that could have been made by the person who made the decision appealed against.

(4) The Appeals Committee must, within the prescribed period after determining a person’s appeal, serve on the person written notice of the decision made on that determination.’

(7) In section 22 (appeals)—

(a) in subsection (1)—

(i) for paragraph (a) substitute—

‘(a) a decision of the Appeals Committee under section 21A, on an appeal made by the person;’;

(ii) for paragraph (c) substitute—

‘(c) the person’s name not being re-entered in the Register under section 18 as a result of section 9(1);’;

(b) in subsection (2) omit ‘Subject to subsection (3),’;

(c) omit subsection (3);

(d) in the heading at the end insert ‘to the court’.

(8) In section 24(2) (service of documents) for ‘or 15(3)’ substitute ‘, 15(3) or 21A(4)’.

(9) In Schedule 1 (the Board and its committees) after Part 2 insert—

Part 2A

The Appeals Committee

17B (1) The Board may make rules about—

(a) the composition of the Appeals Committee;

(b) the selection and term of office of members of the Appeal Committee (including casual vacancies);

(c) the meetings and procedure (including chairing and quorum) of the Appeal Committee;

(d) votes of the Appeal Committee (including providing for a casting vote and the way in which it is to be exercised).

(2) Before making rules about the composition of the Appeals Committee, the Board must consult the Secretary of State.’

(10) In Part 4 of that Schedule (general provisions), after ‘Professional Conduct Committee’, in each place it occurs, insert ‘, the Appeals Committee’.”—(Christopher Pincher.)

This new clause amends the Architects Act 1997 so as to require a committee called the Appeals Committee to be established. The committee is to determine certain appeals relating to registration. The new clause will be inserted into Part 5, after clause 137.

Brought up, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 3

‘(1) The remediation costs condition applies where a landlord has carried out any fire safety works to an applicable building in consequence of any provision, duty or guidance arising from—

(a) the Housing Act 2004;

(b) the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005;

(c) the Building Safety Act 2021;

(d) any direction, recommendation or suggestion of any public authority or regulatory body;

(e) such other circumstances or enactment as the Secretary of State may prescribe by regulations or in accordance with subsection (9), below.

(2) If the remediation costs condition is met, then the costs incurred by the landlord in connection with those matters may not be the subject of a demand for payment of service charges, administration charges or any other charge permitted or authorised by any provision of any long lease.

(3) Any demand for payment which contravenes this section shall be of no force or effect and will have no validity in law.

(4) Any covenant or agreement, whether contained in a lease or in an agreement collateral to such a lease, is void in so far as it purports to authorise any forfeiture or impose on the tenant any penalty, disability or obligation in the event of the tenant refusing, failing or declining to make a payment to which this section applies.

(5) The remediation costs condition applies to demands for payment before the landlord incurs the costs in the same way as it applies to demands for payment made after the costs have been incurred.

(6) The remediation costs condition does not apply where the landlord is a company in which the majority of the shares are held by leaseholders or where the landlord is an RTM company.

(7) Within six months of the day on which this section comes into force, the Secretary of State must create an agency referred to as the Building Works Agency.

(8) The purpose of the Building Works Agency shall be to administer a programme of cladding remediation and other building safety works, including—

(a) overseeing an audit of cladding, insulation and other building safety issues in buildings over two storeys;

(b) prioritising audited buildings for remediation based on risk;

(c) determining the granting or refusal of grant funding for cladding remediation work;

(d) monitoring progress of remediation work and enforce remediation work where appropriate;

(e) determining buildings to be safe once remediation work has been completed;

(f) seeking to recover costs of remediation where appropriate from responsible parties; and

(g) providing support, information and advice for owners of buildings during the remediation process.

(9) The Building Works Agency shall also have power to recommend that the Secretary of State exercises his power under clause (1)(e) in such terms and to such extent that it sees fit. If such a recommendation is made, the Secretary of State must, within 28 days, either—

(a) accept it and exercise the power under clause 1(e) within 28 days of acceptance; or

(b) reject it and, within 28 days of rejection, lay before Parliament a report setting out the reasons for rejection.

(10) In this section—

(a) “fire safety works” means any work or service carried out for the purpose of eradicating or mitigating (whether permanently or temporarily) any risk associated with the spread of fire, the structural integrity of the building or the ability of people to evacuate the building;

(b) “applicable building” means a building subject to one or more long leases on the day on which section comes into force;

(c) “service charge” has the meaning given by s.18, Landlord and Tenant Act 1985;

(d) “administration charge” has the meaning given by Schedule 11, Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002;

(e) “long lease” has the meaning given by sections 76 and 77 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002;

(f) “RTM company” has the meaning given by section 113 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.

(11) This section comes into force on the day on which this Act is passed.’—(Matthew Pennycook.)

Brought up.

Question put, That the clause be added to the Bill.

Clause 128

Limitation periods

Amendments made: 41, page 136, line 8, at end insert—

“(4) Where by virtue of section 1 of the Defective Premises Act 1972 a person became entitled, before the commencement date, to bring an action against any other person, this section applies in relation to the action as if the reference in subsection (1) to 15 years were a reference to 30 years.

(5) In subsection (4) ‘the commencement date’ means the day on which section 128 of the Building Safety Act 2022 came into force.”

This amendment provides for a 30 year limitation period (rather than a 15 year period) for actions brought by virtue of section 1 of the Defective Premises Act 1972, where the right of action accrued before the commencement of the clause.

Amendment 42, page 136, line 15, leave out from ‘where’ to end of line 16 and insert “—

(a) by virtue of section 1 of the Defective Premises Act 1972 a person became entitled, before the day on which this section came into force, to bring an action against any other person, and

(b) the period of 30 years from the date on which the right of action accrued expires in the initial period,

section 4B of the Limitation Act 1980 (inserted by subsection (1))”.

This amendment provides that where the 30 year limitation period (see Amendment 41) would otherwise expire in the initial period, it expires at the end of the initial period.

Amendment 43,  page 136, line 29, leave out “90 days” and insert “one year”.

This amendment changes the initial period. Subsection (4) provides that where the time limit for bringing an action by virtue of section 1 of the Defective Premises Act 1972 would otherwise expire in the initial period, it expires at the end of that period.

Clause 129

Establishment of the new homes ombudsman scheme

Amendments made: 44, page 136, line 33 leave out “for England”.

This amendment (together with others) is to expand the scope of the new homes ombudsman scheme beyond England so it applies also to Wales and Scotland.

Amendment 45, page 137, line 11, at end insert—

“(4) Before making arrangements under subsection (1), the Secretary of State must consult—

(a) the Welsh Ministers, and

(b) the Scottish Ministers.”

This amendment places the Secretary of State under a duty to consult the Welsh Ministers and the Scottish Ministers before making arrangements to establish the new homes ombudsman scheme.

Clause 130

The new homes ombudsman scheme

Amendments made: 46, page 137, line 20, leave out “in England”.

See explanatory statement for Amendment 44.

Amendment 47, page 137, line 32, leave out

“against members of the scheme”.

This amendment expands the meaning of “redress scheme” so it is not limited to schemes which have members.

Amendment 48, in page 137, line 35, at end insert—

“(8) Schedule (Amendments in connection with the new homes ombudsman scheme) contains amendments connected with the establishment of the new homes ombudsman scheme.”

This amendment introduces a Schedule containing amendments of other enactments (see NS2).

Clause 131

“Relevant owner”, “new build home” and “developer”

Amendments made: 49,  page 138, line 8, at end insert—

“(3A) In relation to a home in Scotland, subsection (3) has effect as if in paragraph (b) the words ‘for a term not exceeding 21 years’ were omitted.”

This amendment glosses the meaning of the “occupation condition” for homes in Scotland.

Amendment 50, page 138, line 21, leave out subsection (5) and insert—

“(5) ‘Relevant interest’ means—

(a) in relation to land in England or Wales, a legal estate which is—

(i) an estate in fee simple absolute in possession, or

(ii) a term of years absolute granted for a term of more than 21 years from the date of the grant;

(b) in relation to land in Scotland, the interest of an owner of land.”

This amendment provides the meaning of the “relevant interest” for Wales and Scotland (and is needed as a consequence of the new homes ombudsman scheme being expanded beyond England).

Amendment 51,  page 138, line 27, leave out “in England”.

See explanatory statement for Amendment 44.

Amendment 52,  page 138, line 29, leave out “in England”.

See explanatory statement for Amendment 44.

Amendment 53,  page 138, line 31, leave out “in England”.

See explanatory statement for Amendment 44.

Amendment 54,  page 138, line 36, leave out “Secretary of State” and insert “relevant national authority”.

This amendment, taken with Amendment 55, confers power on the Welsh Ministers and the Scottish Ministers (in addition to the Secretary of State) to adjust the meaning of “developer”.

Amendment 55, page 138, line 40, at end insert—

“(7A) In subsection (6)(b), ‘the relevant national authority’ means—

(a) in relation to homes in England, the Secretary of State,

(b) in relation to homes in Wales, the Welsh Ministers, and

(c) in relation to homes in Scotland, the Scottish Ministers.

(7B) Before making regulations under subsection (6)(b), the relevant national authority must consult each other person who is the relevant national authority in relation to regulations under that subsection.”

See explanatory statement for Amendment 54.

Clause 132

Power to require persons to join scheme and to provide information

Amendment made: 56, page 139, line 19, at end insert—

“(1A) Before making regulations under subsection (1), the Secretary of State must consult—

(a) the Welsh Ministers, and

(b) the Scottish Ministers.”

This amendment places the Secretary of State under a duty to consult the Welsh Ministers and the Scottish Ministers before making regulations about the new homes ombudsman scheme.

Clause 134

Developers’ code of practice

Amendment made: 57,  page 140, line 13, at end insert—

“(4) The Secretary of State must consult the Welsh Ministers and the Scottish Ministers before—

(a) issuing, revising or replacing the code, or

(b) approving the code or a revision or replacement of it.”

This amendment places the Secretary of State under a duty to consult the Welsh Ministers and the Scottish Ministers about the code of practice.

Clause 138

Power of Architects Registration Board to charge fees

Amendment made: 58, page 145, line 27, at end insert—

“(2) In Schedule 1 to that Act (the Board and its committees), in paragraph 18(2)(b) (functions of the Board which may not be discharged by a committee) for ‘4(1) or (2)’ substitute ‘4(2)’.

(3) In consequence of the amendment made by subsection (2), in section 11(5) of the Professional Qualifications Act 2022 for the words from ‘after’ to the end substitute ‘for “4(2)” substitute “4(1A) or (2)”’.”—(Christopher Pincher.)

This amendment amends paragraph 18(2) of Schedule 1 to the Architects Act 1997 so as to remove the current restriction on committees discharging a function of the Architects Registration Board under section 4(1) of that Act.

New Schedule 2

Amendments in connection with the new homes ombudsman scheme

“1 The Local Government Act 1974 is amended in accordance with paragraphs 2 to 4.

2 (1) Section 33 (consultation between Local Commissioner and other Commissioners and Ombudsmen) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1)—

(a) after paragraph (bza) insert—

‘(bzb) by the new homes ombudsman under the new homes ombudsman scheme (see section 129 of the Building Safety Act 2022),’;

(b) in the words after paragraph (c), after ‘1993’ insert ‘, the Housing Act 1996, the new homes ombudsman scheme’.

(3) In subsection (2), after ‘housing ombudsman,’ insert ‘the new homes ombudsman,’.

(4) After subsection (3A) insert—

‘(3B) If at any stage in the course of conducting an investigation under the new homes ombudsman scheme, the new homes ombudsman forms the opinion that the complaint relates partly to a matter which could be the subject of an investigation under this Part of this Act, the new homes ombudsman must consult with the appropriate Local Commissioner about the complaint and, if the new homes ombudsman considers it necessary, inform the person initiating the complaint of the steps necessary to initiate a complaint under this Part of this Act.’

(5) In subsection (4)—

(a) for ‘or (3A)’ substitute ‘, (3A) or (3B)’;

(b) for ‘or under the Housing Act 1996’ substitute ‘, the Housing Act 1996 or the new homes ombudsman scheme’.

3 (1) Section 33ZA (collaborative working between Local Commissioners and others) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1)—

(a) in paragraph (b) omit the final ‘or’;

(b) at the end of paragraph (c) insert ‘or

(d) the new homes ombudsman,’.

(3) In subsection (1A) for ‘or (c)’ substitute ‘, (c) or (d)’.

(4) In subsection (3)—

(a) in paragraph (b) omit the final ‘or’;

(b) at the end of paragraph (c) insert ‘or

(d) the new homes ombudsman,’;

(c) in the words following paragraph (c) for ‘or (c)’ substitute ‘, (c) or (d)’.

4 In section 33ZB (arrangements for provision of administrative and other services), in subsection (4)—

(a) in paragraph (c) omit the final ‘and’;

(b) at the end of paragraph (d) insert—

‘(e) the new homes ombudsman, and

(f) the person maintaining the new homes ombudsman scheme under arrangements made pursuant to section 129 of the Building Safety Act 2022.’

5 (1) Paragraph 10A of Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1996 (housing complaints: collaborative working with Local Commissioners) is amended as follows.

(2) In sub-paragraph (1)—

(a) after ‘Local Commissioner’ insert ‘or the new homes ombudsman’;

(b) for ‘the ombudsman’ substitute ‘the housing ombudsman’;

(c) at the end insert ‘, the new homes ombudsman or both of them.’

(3) In sub-paragraph (3)—

(a) after ‘Local Commissioner’ insert ‘or the new homes ombudsman’;

(b) for ‘the ombudsman’, in both places it occurs, substitute ‘the housing ombudsman’;

(c) at the end insert ‘, the new homes ombudsman or both of them.’

(4) In sub-paragraph (4)—

(a) after ‘Local Commissioner’ insert ‘, the new homes ombudsman (or both)’;

(b) at the end insert ‘(or those persons)’.

6 (1) The Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Act 2019 (anaw 3) is amended as follows.

(2) In section 65(7) (consultation and co-operation with other ombudsmen)—

(a) in the Welsh language text, after paragraph (e) insert—

‘(f) yr ombwdsmon cartrefi newydd o dan y cynllun ombwdsmon cartrefi newydd (gweler adran 129 o Ddeddf Diogelwch Adeiladau 2022).’;

(b) in the English language text, after paragraph (e) insert—

‘(f) the new homes ombudsman under the new homes ombudsman scheme (see section 129 of the Building Safety Act 2022).’”—(Christopher Pincher.)

This new schedule contains amendments to other legislation needed as a result of the establishment of the new homes ombudsman scheme.

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

Schedule 8

The new homes ombudsman scheme

Amendments made: 71,  page 203, line 15, after “include” insert

“provision about co-operation with persons who exercise functions under other redress schemes and, in particular,”.

This amendment makes it clear that the scheme may include provision about co-operation between the new homes ombudsman scheme and other redress schemes.

Amendment 72,  page 203, line 25, at end insert

“, the Welsh Ministers and the Scottish Ministers.”—(Christopher Pincher.)

This ensures that the new homes ombudsman scheme includes provision for the provision of information to the Welsh Ministers and the Scottish Ministers as well as to the Secretary of State.

New Clause 19

Special Measures

“Schedule (Special measures) provides for the appointment of a special measures manager, to undertake duties under this Part in place of an accountable person, and makes further provision in connection with that appointment.”—(Christopher Pincher.)

This new clause introduces NS1 and is intended to be inserted before clause 104.

Brought up, and read the First time.

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

New clause 1—Review of payment practices and building safety

“(1) The Secretary of State must, within 60 days of the day on which this Act is passed, establish a review of the effects of construction industry payment practices on building safety in general and on safety in high-risk buildings in particular.

(2) The review must, in particular, consider—

(a) the extent to the structure of the construction market incentivises procurement with building safety in mind,

(b) the extent to which contract terms and payment practices (for example, retentions) can drive poor behaviours, including the prioritisation of speed and low cost solutions and affect building safety by placing financial strain on supply chain,

(c) the effects on building safety of other matters raised in Chapter 9 (procurement and supply) of Building a Safer Future, the final report of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, published in May 2018 (Cm 9607),

(d) the adequacy for the purposes of promoting building safety of the existing legislative, regulatory and policy regime governing payment practices in construction, including the provisions of Part II of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996, and

(e) recommendations for legislative, regulatory or policy change.

(3) The Secretary of State must lay a report of the findings of the review before Parliament no later than one year after this Act comes into force.”

This new clause would put an obligation on the Secretary of State to review the effects of construction industry payment on practices on building safety and to report the findings to Parliament.

New clause 2—Building regulations: property protection

“(1) The Building Act 1984 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 1 (Power to make building regulations), after subsection (1)(f), insert—

‘(g) furthering the protection of property’.

(3) In Schedule 1 (Building Regulations), in paragraph 8(5A)—

(a) after ‘1(1)(a)’ insert ‘(d), (e) and (g)’;

(b) after ‘flooding’ insert ‘and fire’.”

This new clause would add “furthering the protection of property” to the list of purposes for which building regulations may be made under the Buildings Act 1984, and extends the purposes for which persons carrying out works on a building may be required to do things to improve building resilience.

New clause 15—Duty of social landlords to undertake electrical safety inspections

“(1) A social landlord of a residential dwelling in a high-rise building must—

(a) hold a valid Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) for that dwelling;

(b) provide to the tenant of the dwelling, including any new such tenant—

(i) a copy of that EICR, and

(ii) a document explaining the provisions of this Act;

(c) handle any valid complaint about the safety of the electrical installations of the dwelling in accordance with subsection (5).

(2) A person who fails to comply with a duty under subsection (1) commits an offence.

(3) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine.

(4) A complaint is valid if—

(a) it relates to the safety of the electrical installations of the dwelling;

(b) it is made in writing by, or on behalf of, the tenant of the dwelling; and

(c) it is not frivolous or vexatious.

(5) The landlord must investigate any valid complaint within 28 days of receiving that complaint.

(6) If such an investigation shows that the electrical installations are unsafe, the landlord must rectify the situation using a qualified and competent person within 28 days of the completion of the investigation.

(7) If the landlord believes that a complaint is not valid they must write to the tenant within 28 days of receiving that complaint explaining why they do not think it is valid.

(8) In this section—

a ‘valid Electrical Installation Condition Report’—

(a) is dated within the last five years;

(b) covers the whole fixed electrical installation of the dwelling;

(c) has a satisfactory outcome;

(d) was completed by a qualified and competent person; and

(e) is based on the model forms in BS 7671 or equivalent;

‘social landlord’ has the same meaning as in section 219 of the Housing Act 1996.”

This new clause requires social landlords to ensure the safety of electrical installations in high rise buildings and is intended to reduce risk of spread of fires between flats.

New clause 16—Duty of leaseholders to undertake electrical safety inspections

“(1) A leaseholder of a residential dwelling in a high-rise building must—

(a) hold a valid Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) for that dwelling; and

(b) provide a copy of that EICR to a person specified by the Secretary of State.

(2) A person who fails to comply with subsection (1) shall—

(a) initially receive a written request from the specified person to provide the EICR; and

(b) if he or she fails to comply with such a written request, be liable to a civil penalty.

(3) The Secretary of State shall, by regulations, nominate who the specified person shall be.

(4) In this section a ‘valid Electrical Installation Condition Report’—

(a) is dated within the last five years;

(b) covers the whole fixed electrical installation of the dwelling;

(c) has a satisfactory outcome;

(d) was completed by a qualified and competent person; and

(e) is based on the model forms in BS 7671 or equivalent.”

This new clause requires leaseholders to ensure the safety of electrical installations in high rise buildings and is intended to reduce risk of spread of fires between flats.

New clause 17—Staircase standards

“The Secretary of State must, within 6 months of the day on which this Act is passed, consult on regulations requiring staircases in all new build properties to comply with British Standard 5395-1.”

New clause 18—Property flood resilience

“(1) The Secretary of State must, before the end of the period of six months beginning on the day this Act is passed, use the power under section 1 of the Building Act 1984 to make building regulations for the purpose in subsection (2).

(2) That purpose is to set minimum standards for the safety of new build public and private properties in England for—

(a) property flood resilience,

(b) flood mitigation, and

(c) waste management in connection with flooding.

(3) The Secretary of State must by regulations establish—

(a) a certification scheme for safety improvements to domestic and commercial properties in England made in full or in part for flood prevention or flood mitigation purposes, and

(b) an accreditation scheme for installers of such improvements.

(4) The scheme under subsection (3)(a) must—

(a) set minimum standards for the improvements, including that they are made by a person accredited under subsection (1)(b), and

(b) provide for the issuance of certificates for insurance and assurance purposes stating that improvements to properties have met those standards.

(5) The scheme under subsection (3)(a) may make provision for the certification of improvements that were made before the establishment of the scheme provided those improvements meet the minimum standards in subsection (4)(a).

(6) In setting minimum standards under subsection (4)(a) the Secretary of State must have regard to the minimum standards for new build properties under subsection (1).

(7) The Secretary of State and local authorities in England must take all reasonable steps to make data about flood prevention and risk relevant to building safety publicly available.

(8) The duty under subsection (1) extends to seeking to facilitate use of the data by—

(a) insurers for the purpose of accurately assessing risks to buildings, and

(b) individual property owners for the purpose of assessing the need for property flood resilience measures.”

This new clause would establish minimum standards for property flood resilience measures in new build properties and in improvements to existing building designed to increase safety protections for flood prevention and mitigation purposes, and require local and national government to make data available to support this.

New clause 23—Building control: independent appointment

“In section 47 of the Building Act 1984 (giving and acceptance of initial notice), in subsection (1)(a) after ‘approved inspector’, insert ‘who has been chosen by a system of independent appointment, prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State.’”

This new clause, along with Amendment 73, is intended to remove choice of building control body from those carrying out all building work.

New clause 24—Building Safety and Local Authorities

“(1) The duties performed by the regulator under section 31 of this Act in respect of relevant buildings must be performed by the local authority that exercises building control functions in the area in which the building is located.

(2) In this section ‘relevant building’ means a building—

(a) under 18 metres in height, and

(b) comprising more than one dwelling.”

New clause 25—Building Safety Regulations for multi-occupancy dwellings

“The Secretary of State must by regulations amend paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 to the Building Act 1984 to apply to all buildings that comprise more than one dwelling.”

Amendment 1, in clause 3, page 2, line 13, at end insert—

“(aa) furthering the protection of property, and”.

This amendment would require the building safety regulator to exercise its functions with a view to furthering the protection of property, which is intended promote longer term protections for occupant safety and reducing fire damage and cost.

Amendment 74, in clause 30, page 18, line 17, at end insert—

“(3A) In making regulations under this section, the Secretary of State must have regard to the ability of residents to evacuate a building, taking into account the vulnerability of residents and the number of means of egress.”

This amendment is intended to ensure the Secretary of State has regard to the ability of residents to evacuate a building when revising the definition of higher-risk building.

Amendment 73, page 60, line 7 leave out clause 45.

This amendment, along with NC23, is intended to remove choice of building control body for those carrying out all building work.

Amendment 75, in clause 57, page 79, line 23, at end insert—

“(5) The regulations must exempt any relevant application made by or on behalf of a registered social landlord for the provision of social housing as defined under section 68 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008.

(6) A ‘relevant application’ under subsection (5) means an application of a description specified in regulations made by the Secretary of State.”

Government amendments 11 to 40.

Government amendments 60 and 61.

Government amendments 63 and 64.

Government new schedule 1—Special measures.

Government amendment 70.

I am happy to set out this group of new clauses and amendments that I hope will be non-contentious as they relate to special measures.

Let me briefly remind the House that special measures orders are a last-resort regulatory intervention that will be invoked if there has been a serious failure or multiple failures by the accountable person to meet their duties under part 4 of the Bill. The new clauses and amendments, beginning with new clause 19, provide for the special measures regime to operate in high-risk buildings across all housing tenures. They also ensure that a special measure order cannot be circumvented by a recalcitrant accountable person, including in respect of a situation in which an accountable person sells their interest in the building and tries to avoid being bound by the special measures order.

New clause 19 introduces new schedule 1, which will encompass the special measures provisions and replace clauses 104 to 113. I shall refer to the paragraphs in the schedule as I address the House. Proposed new paragraph 9 is a new provision that provides for a financial management proposal. This will detail how the accountable person will fund the relevant building safety expenses across both leasehold and rented buildings that are subject to special measures. The financial management proposal sets out the estimated expenses, the measures that they will fund and the special measures manager will undertake, and the apportionment of payments if there is more than one accountable person.

Proposed new paragraph 10(3)(b) ensures that for commonhold buildings a special measures manager may carry out the functions of a receiver of commonhold building safety assessments. This aligns with the provisions on the building safety charge and ensures that the manager is remunerated and can carry out their functions for such a tenure of building. Amendments 33 to 35 are supporting provisions for special measures in common-hold buildings.

Proposed new paragraph 12 is a new provision that ensures financial propriety and provides that any payments received by a manager further to the proposal are deposited into an account to be held on trust. Proposed new paragraph 16 gives power to the Building Safety Regulator to provide financial assistance to the special measures manager to enable it to carry out its functions.

Proposed new paragraph 18 provides for a proactive regulator who will review key aspects under the special measures order and, where necessary, apply to vary the order if the regulator considers that any of the functions or terms require amendment.

Proposed new paragraphs 20(7) to 20(9) provide that on the discharge of a special measures order, the tribunal must direct the special measures manager to prepare a reconciliation of those accounts held on trust and may direct final payments from the manager or accountable persons as appropriate.

Proposed new paragraph 22 creates provisions that ensure that while it is in force the terms of a special measures order will be binding against an incoming accountable person, while the outgoing accountable person remains liable for any contraventions under the order and any debts that may have been incurred prior to the transfer of ownership.

A swathe of Government amendments—Nos. 11, 12, 16 to 28, 31 and 32, 36, 40, 61, 63 and 70—are consequential amendments that make changes relating to special measures due to the provisions now appearing in new schedule 1. Amendments 33 to 35 provide for changes to provisions to ensure that special measures operate effectively for commonhold, high-risk buildings. Together, these amendments and new provisions will ensure that a special measures intervention will operate effectively across buildings, regardless of tenure.

Amendments 14 and 15 are, again, minor technical changes to the process of registration of high-risk buildings. Amendment 14 simply clarifies the meaning of registration, while amendment 15 makes it clear that the building safety regulator has the powers to update the register of high-risk buildings beyond the initial registration application. The amendment will therefore make sure that the register is kept up to date and is fit for purpose. Amendments 29 and 30 are on the protection from forfeiture and amend clause 122. They amend it so that leaseholders can be assured that they have the same protections against forfeiture of a lease as those that already exist in relation to the service charge. They are consequential amendments that ensure that statutory protections against forfeiture apply to relevant leases where there is a requirement to pay a building safety charge. We want the same procedural rights to apply to the building safety charge regime as apply to the service charge. The amendment extends service charge protections for leaseholders who default on payments or challenge the reasonableness of a charge to the building safety charge.

Finally, the Government have tabled another small batch of minor or technical amendments that are either consequential to other changes or correct clauses in the Bill. Four technical amendments are consequential to amendment 1, which I introduced earlier, relating to the new homes ombudsman. Amendments 59 and 62 remove the regulation-making power to add the description of “developer” for the purposes of the new homes ombudsman provisions from the scope of the general provision about powers to make regulations. This is because new clause 20, in respect of the regulations, means that we can ensure that Scottish and Welsh Ministers, as well as the Secretary of State, have bespoke powers. Amendments 66 and 67 adjust the territorial extent of the provisions about the new homes ombudsman scheme now that that the scheme will operate across Great Britain, and territorial extent issues are also dealt with in new schedule 2, which contains a consequential amendment related to the new homes ombudsman. [Interruption.]

Finally, I heard from my right hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Bob Stewart), who has not yet risen—

I thank my very good friend for being so nice to me—decent of him. In sum, all these special measures are devices to ensure that, once people are identified as culpable to fix the problem, they are pinged and have to do it. Is that correct?

My right hon. and gallant Friend, as ever, is on or near the money. The point of the changes is to make sure that the accountable person is indeed accountable, so they do what it says on the tin.

Amendment 13 makes it clear in the Bill that an accountable person who allows occupation of a single residential unit or more in part of a higher risk building, as defined in clause 62, without a relevant completion certificate has committed a summary offence, and the guilty person is liable for conviction up to a maximum summary term. Amendment 60 allows regulations made under clause 71 to be subject to the affirmative procedure. Clause 71 sets out the parameters of the part of the building for which an accountable person is responsible. Amendment 64 provides that the consequential amendments in schedule 5 relating to the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967—an Act we all know well—and the Freedom of Information Act 2000 extend to all of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Amendment 68 provides that clause 127 is automatically commenced two months after Royal Assent.

The amendments, while hardly scintillating, will help to improve the Bill and make it ready for scrutiny by our colleagues in the other place. I trust that my hon. Friends and Opposition Members have listened closely, with care and attention, have absorbed all the points I have made, and that they will support the amendments.

Before I call Matthew Pennycook, I ask colleagues who are trying to catch my eye that they please make sure that they address the new clauses and amendments in the group before us, not those in the previous group.

Scintillating they may not be, but it is still a pleasure to respond for the Opposition to the remaining proceedings on consideration. I will first deal briefly with several of the non-Government amendments selected, before taking the opportunity to ask the Minister several specific questions relating to Government new clause 19, new schedule 1 and various other amendments relating to special measures and protections against forfeiture. I hope he is able to answer at least some of them.

New clause 1, which stands in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham East and Saddleworth (Debbie Abrahams), who sadly cannot be in her place today because she has contracted covid, is a straightforward amendment that would place on the Secretary of State an obligation to review the effects of behaviour in the construction industry that have a negative impact on building safety, such as contract terms and payment practices that prioritise speed and low-cost solutions, and to report findings to this House. We support the new clause fully and urge the Government to give it due consideration.

New clause 18, which stands in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle (Emma Hardy), would establish minimum standards for property flood resilience measures in new-build homes. In response to my hon. Friend last week, the Secretary of State made it clear that “more could be done” on this issue. I hope my hon. Friend gets a chance to make her case in more detail in due course, and that the Minister will give serious consideration to her new clause and to what might be done through future planning legislation to drive up standards when it comes to flood mitigation and resilience.

New clause 15, which stands in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Hammersmith (Andy Slaughter), would extent the electrical safety inspection duties that currently apply in the private sector to social landlords. It is straightforward and we believe it warrants support.

New clause 16 would extend the same duties to leaseholders. Although we do not want extra burdens to be placed on leaseholder-occupiers—those who sub-let are of course required to have the relevant certification anyway—and we do want further assurances that the provision would not duplicate powers and duties that the Bill confers on the building safety manager, we support in principle steps to ensure the safety of electrical installations in high-rise buildings and to reduce the risk of fire spreading between flats.

My hon. Friend is a logical and fair man, and he will appreciate that there is an anomaly here. If a leaseholder rents out their property, as we have heard some are forced to do, they will be a private landlord and will be obliged to carry out these checks, but they will not be if they are living in the property themselves. In the name of safety, there has to be consistency. Not only landlords of high-rise blocks but social landlords and resident leaseholders need to do this, and the cost is estimated to be about £30 a year per flat.

I agree there is an anomaly, and I agree that we need consistency. I very much hope the Government give further thought to what might be done to achieve that objective.

The Opposition support new clause 23 and amendments 73 and 74, which derive from the Select Committee’s recommendations, and I hope the Minister will constructively respond to them in due course.

On Government new clause 19 and new schedule 1, which will replace clauses 104 to 113, and various related amendments, we fully accept the need for special measures in cases where a given accountable person fails to discharge their duties under the new regime, including the appointment via an order secured by the regulator at the first-tier tribunal of a special measures manager who will take on the management of risk in a given building in such instances.

We also support the changes made to the special measures arrangements by new schedule 1, such as the change to enable the regulator to provide financial assistance to the special measures manager by way of loans or grants. However, we would be grateful if the Minister provided some clarification on those parts of the new schedule that allow for payments to be made by the accountable person to the special measures manager if expenses exceed what can be raised by way of the building safety charge. Will he give a commitment this afternoon that those additional payments will not be able to be charged to leaseholders?

Building height was debated extensively in Committee and warrants a brief mention in relation to this group of Government amendments, because the Bill’s arrangements for special measures still apply only to higher-risk buildings, defined as those of at least 18 metres in height or of at least seven storeys—I note that new clauses 24 and 25, in the name of the hon. Member for St Albans (Daisy Cooper), directly address this.

Eighteen metres has always been a crude and arbitrary threshold that fails adequately to reflect the complexity of fire risk. It is absolutely right and long overdue that the Government made it clear last week that 18 metres will no longer be the difference between whether an affected leaseholder is protected by the state from the costs of remediation or made to take on a forced loan and long-term debt, although leaseholders will still face ruinous costs for the remediation of buildings under 11 metres. That requirement will not be entirely resolved by the withdrawal of the January 2020 consolidated advice note, and we urge the Minister to ensure those people are also protected financially.

Leaving aside whether a more proportionate approach to fire safety risk results in a reduction in the number of medium-rise buildings that ultimately require remedial works, many of them will clearly remain designated as high risk and will therefore require remediation. Can the Minister confirm that it is the Government’s intention eventually to bring high-risk buildings under 18 metres into the purview of the regulator and the gateway system once the regime has been given a chance to bed in and deal with the most complex high-rise cases?

Lastly, amendment 29 will extend existing protections against forfeiture of a lease on the ground of non-payment of a service charge to non-payment of a building safety charge. We do not oppose this amendment as it rebalances, even if only marginally, the disparity in power between a landlord and leaseholder when it comes to the building safety charge. This directly relates to our previous debate on part 5. No provisions prohibiting forfeiture would be necessary if the House had accepted any amendment, whether it be new clause 3, new clause 13 or potential forthcoming Government amendments, that provides sufficiently robust legal protection for leaseholders in all circumstances.

The difficulty of considering amendments on Report when other amendments that are likely to have a direct bearing on their operation, were they to be accepted, have not yet been tabled is that, if no amendments are made to provide legal protection for leaseholders against the costs of remediating historical defects, we would be concerned that amendment 29 could inadvertently incentivise freeholders to sue for unpaid building safety charges. I therefore ask the Minister and his officials to consider revising the amendment to make it clear that failure to pay a building safety charge can never be used as a basis for forfeiture, rather than merely regulating the process by which forfeiture takes place, as the amendment does in its present form.

New clause 2 and amendment 1, which stand in my name and are kindly supported by the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle (Emma Hardy), add “the protection of property” to the list of purposes for which building regulations may be made under the Building Act 1984, and require the Building Safety Regulator to carry out its work

“with a view to furthering the protection of property”.

In many respects, in terms of drafting, these are tweaks to the Bill, but they could have far-reaching and positive consequences. Modern methods of construction and the increasing compartmental sizes of industrial and commercial buildings are leading to more challenging and larger fires, which put lives at risk and also cause enormous social, economic and environmental consequential damage. That is exactly what happened at Wessex Foods in Lowestoft 11 years ago, in July 2011. If adequate property protection measures—in the form of sprinklers, in that instance—had been in place, a huge amount of disruption would have been avoided, and the firefighters would have been back at their station in four minutes.

If the consideration of “property protection” were added to the Building Act and the building regulations, we would secure a significant double dividend: greater safety for people, including firefighters, and more sustainable buildings. It is far better to be preventing fires than to be putting them out. I should therefore be grateful if the Minister gave serious consideration to accepting new clause 2 and amendment 1, so that the Building Act can be amended to provide for the protection of property. These proposals have the support of professionals across the fire sector: the National Fire Chiefs Council, the Fire Sector Federation, the Fire Brigades Union, the Fire Protection Association and the Institution of Fire Engineers.

The new clause and amendment would provide an appropriate framework for the future fire safety of building design, and we would therefore know that homes, schools, care homes, student accommodation and all industrial and commercial buildings had adequate property protection and fire prevention measures built in at the start, so that we were not putting people—including firefighters—and property at risk. As I have said, I should be grateful if the Minister considered these proposals.

I will speak very briefly about amendment 75 and new clauses 24 and 25, all of which stand in my name and are supported by the Local Government Association.

Amendment 75 is pretty straightforward. At present, the Bill lacks clarity in relation to social housing providers. This amendment to clause 57 would make registered social landlords exempt from the additional financial burden of the building safety levy. I think it unacceptable that council and housing association tenants have to subsidise the failures of private developers under this scheme.

The purpose of the two new clauses, taken together, is to introduce a more stringent building safety framework that would apply to multiple dwellings under 18 metres in height as well as those above. We have already heard from hon. Members about how crude the 18-metre cut-off is and how it has no basis. Indeed, many of us remember seeing a leaked video of an adviser to the Government saying that that figure had been plucked out of the air.

These two new clauses, taken together, would prevent having a two-tier building safety regime. I ask the Minister to respond to the amendment and the new clauses to see whether the Government might be willing to adopt them all during the passage of the Bill.

I rise to speak to new clause 17, which stands in my name.

The Minister, probably more than anybody else in this Parliament, already knows that I have a tendency to fall over. Because I am teetotal, this is not down to drink either. Indeed, I suspect that every single Member here will know someone—a friend, a loved one or a relative—who has had a fall on the stairs. They are a silent killer and claim the lives of over 700 people every year, as well as thousands more who suffer injuries and lose their independence.

Finding a solution to the issue of flammable cladding has proven fiendishly complex, as we know from our time here, but for staircase safety it should be, and indeed is, simple. A British standard already exists that reduces falls by a staggering 60%: British Standard 5395-1. It means that stairs must have a minimum size of “going”—the horizontal surface on which one treads—and a maximum rise in height limiting steepness and providing enough surface area on which to step. Provision of easy-reach handrails is also required for staircases to be compliant. While such staircases hardly look different at all to the naked eye, their impact on preventing falls is remarkable.

British Standard 5395-1 has been in place since 2010 but never enshrined in law as a requirement, so today I am proposing this new clause, alongside the hon. Member for Sheffield South East (Mr Betts), for whose support I am most grateful. This is the result of ardent campaigning by the UK’s leading accident prevention charity, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, but also, crucially, major players in the housing industry such as the Berkeley Group. Industry wants this regulation. It wants a level playing field where there is one simple rule for all to adhere to. Because I am only calling for the standard to be applied to new-builds, there will be negligible cost and no need for retrofitting.

I can almost hear what the Minister is about to tell me—that it is uncommon to use primary legislation to enshrine such a standard into law. The Government will argue that our focus should be outcome-based rather than legislating on method, but I might point to regulation 7 of the building regulations, on combustible materials, which is in itself descriptive and sets out how the industry must achieve that particular regulation. If the outcome that we are all aiming for is safety of stairs, then the status quo is simply not working, and hundreds of people are dying every year from something that could so easily be prevented: I refer back to the 60% figure. If the Government have some other way to achieve such a reduction in preventable death in the home, then I am all ears, as many people have often pointed out to me. Independent safety campaigners such as RoSPA are confident from the statistics that this simple measure will save more lives than perhaps anything else in the entire Bill.

Genuine low-hanging fruit does not come along very often in politics, and I would like the Minister to grasp it when he sees it. He may not wish to satisfy me by granting me the agreement of the Government to the new clause. He has spent many years working on this with me trying to keep me satisfied and happy, but failed. Now he has his chance to redeem himself after 12 months of horror. Will he at least agree to meet me to discuss how we can take this matter forward? He can make my day by saying, yes, the Government agree. He can give me a minute of happiness and take forward Conservative party harmony, so rare these days, just by agreeing to meet me. I look forward to hearing what he might just have to say.

I will speak briefly to new clauses 15 and 16, which are in my name and which relate to electrical safety. They seek to extend the requirement for five-yearly checks on electrical equipment to resident leaseholders and to social landlords, where these already apply and in fact apply more widely than just to high-rise residential buildings and private landlords.

We have quite rightly spent a lot of time this afternoon talking about the effects on leaseholders, and we have strayed into other territory and exposed other deficiencies in the Bill in relation to the requirements for social landlords and tenants, what types of building are covered and, indeed, as we heard from the hon. Member for Harrow East (Bob Blackman), how certain types of buildings now being constructed are still being constructed with many of those faults.

What all of those have in common is that they are about the spread of fire, and these new clauses are not about that, but about the cause of fire, which I suggest we should also pay attention to. The Grenfell fire was caused by an electrical fault in a fridge-freezer. Less than a year before Grenfell, in August 2016, there was a very serious fire, less than 1 mile from where Grenfell Tower stands, at Shepherd’s Court—an 18-storey block—in my constituency. That was caused by an unsafe Indesit washer-dryer. Some 5.5 million of that particular type of faulty washer-dryer were manufactured, and hundreds if not thousands of fires across the country, some obviously in high-rise buildings, have been caused by that. The New York fire just a week or so ago was caused by an electrical heater.

Lakanal House, Shirley Towers, New Providence Wharf—almost every one of the notorious recent fires in high-rise blocks have been caused by electrical faults, and they are increasing. In the last year, there were just over 350 fires caused by electrical ignition in high-rise residential blocks, which compares with about 300 five years ago. The fear always used to be of gas—going back to Ronan Point—with a gas explosion or fire, but in fact six times as many fires are caused by electricity as by gas. Indeed, over half—53%—of all accidental dwelling fires are caused by electrical sources of ignition.

It is entirely anomalous that whereas a private landlord quite rightly has to ensure the safety of electrical appliances, a private residential owner or social landlord does not, yet the Government’s own social housing White Paper said that the standards—this is clearly pretty much common sense—should be as good for social housing as they are for private housing in this respect.

I would like to get the Government’s support, as I have had the support—almost total support—of my own Front-Bench spokesperson, my hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich and Woolwich (Matthew Pennycook), on these matters today. He was a little grudging on my second new clause, but I will live with that. I hope that if the Government will not support the new clauses today, and I do not intend to push them to a vote, they will at least positively respond, and go away and think about how we are going to do this. It is entirely anomalous in a single block of flats with different types of tenures for some flats to be subject to greater rigours, and this applies not only to electrical safety but to fitting sprinklers, compartmentalisation and alterations to properties.

If we are going to take seriously the issue of preventing fires, given the devastating consequences that can result from them in high-rise blocks, we will have to make sure there is a level playing field, and that we equally address the problems concerning social housing and leaseholder-owned property as those concerning private rental.

I rise to speak in favour of new clause 18. This amendment seeks to tackle the Government’s currently laissez-faire approach to flood protection, which are known as property flood resilience measures, by introducing minimum national flood protection standards in new builds.

The reasoning behind this amendment is the inevitable change to our climate and the fact that we are going to see more flooding in this country, and it feels as though our legislation is not keeping up with the reality we all face. As the shadow spokesman, my hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich and Woolwich (Matthew Pennycook), said, the Secretary of State did acknowledge in his response to me on the statement that “more could be done”. Therefore, I really do hope that the Government go away, have a look at the amendment I am putting forward, and consider how we can increase flood protections as part of building safety.

Currently, local authority planning departments can choose what property flood resilience measures they introduce as part of their pre-commencement conditions. In reality, that means that adjacent local authorities have different requirements for property flood resilience, flood mitigation and water management measures, even if they are rated in the same flood zone. In Hull, we have very strict flood resilience measures, as the House can imagine—we are an area that floods—but if the surrounding local authorities are not as strict on flood mitigation, we end up with the flood water from those areas, which creates more of a problem for an area such as Hull. That is why we are talking about having the same level right across the country. Even if a part of the country does not flood at all, the new clause seeks to ensure that they still need to take flooding seriously because if they do not, it will lead to problems upstream for somebody else—excuse the pun.

The new clause would also address the lack of clarity about effective PFR measures by looking at a proper accreditation scheme, which would include installers. In the same way that we have gas safety certificates and other safety measures, as well as energy efficiency ratings that are set and established and which everybody understands, the new clause would do the same thing on flooding so that people know they get a certain standard of flood protection in their property and in new builds.

In 2021, Flood Re proposed that lower premiums should be offered on policies where property flood resilience measures have been installed, but the insurance industry says that the lack of standards and proven efficacy makes it very difficult to assess premiums. If the new clause introduced standardisation and a certain standard was set, people could say to insurance companies, “This property has reached a certain standard, so there should be some reflection of that in the premium you’re offering.” This proposal is about looking at a certification scheme.

To further help insurers and the public, the new clause would create a requirement that all the relevant available data held by bodies such as the Environment Agency and local authorities on flood mitigation measures should be made publicly available. This is about trying to make premiums cheaper for people. Insurers purchase flood mapping data to aid them in setting premiums, and the better information they have, the more accurate their insurance premiums will be. At the moment, as I am sure the Minister knows, householders in some parts of the country cannot get any flood insurance if their property has been built after 2009. This proposal attempts to address that issue as well.

Climate change is causing heavier and more frequent flooding, and we currently have 6.3 million homes in the UK at risk of flooding, without any property flood resilience measures. That should be a cause for extreme concern, yet the Government are failing to address it and, in fact, flooding is not mentioned anywhere in the Bill. It is irresponsible and reckless to allow new builds to continue to be built in this country without really strong property flood resilience measures, because we need our homes to be fit for the future. Without positive action from the Government, tens of thousands more homes will be built without the protection they need. This is another housing scandal in the making, so I urge the Minister to go away and look at improving provisions on flooding as part of this Bill.

And new clause 23, but let me comment briefly on two other new clauses. New clause 17, which was tabled by the hon. Member for Blackpool North and Cleveleys (Paul Maynard), is about safety on stairs and ensuring that stairs built in new properties conform to British standards. He is absolutely right and I have put my name to the new clause. Each year, 300,000 people are admitted to A&E because of falls on stairs. That is a staggering figure and anything that we can do to reduce that has to be considered. This proposal is not a difficult one; as he said, it should be easy to implement and cost-free because it would be in new properties. Making sure that the stairs are wide enough and have proper handrails is not rocket science, and I hope that the Minister might indicate agreement on that in future, even if he cannot agree to the new clause today.

I just want to make it clear that nothing I am saying here is meant to try to improve harmony in the Conservative party—that is not something I want to be associated with, as the hon. Member for Blackpool North and Cleveleys indicated. However, I am more than happy to have harmony with him in promoting new clause 17.

My hon. Friend the Member for Hammersmith (Andy Slaughter) is right that there should be similar standards for social tenants in social rented properties. The Select Committee on Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has an ongoing inquiry into the regulation of social housing, and if he could drop a note to the Committee as evidence so that we can take account of his proposals, that would be useful.

I turn to new clause 23 and amendment 73 in my name, which reflect what the Select Committee has looked at. Building control has come up as an issue as a result of the Hackitt review. Dame Judith Hackitt made it clear that two of her concerns about the construction industry were: the whole culture of the industry with its race to the bottom; and—this goes alongside that—conflicts of interest.

In the previous debate, I mentioned conflicts of interest on approvals for products in the industry, with suppliers hawking products around until they found someone—a friendly approver—who would approve them. Building control is the same—it is about the developer finding someone less likely to give them difficult scrutiny. The Government have addressed that for the highest-risk buildings, for which in future building control will be appointed by the regulator. However, for all other properties the developer can say, “Yes, I’ll have you to do my building control” or, “I won’t have you, because you gave me a difficult time with the last property I built.” That is not acceptable.

We need someone to approve a building who is independent of the developer. The Committee has gone on record on that several times, and we recommended it when we scrutinised the draft Bill. So far, the Minister has come back with, “The Government don’t agree.” I hope that at some point the Government will reconsider, because that seems to be a fundamental principle and something that will make all buildings safer in future. It would provide security for the owners, occupiers and tenants that their buildings have been approved by someone independent of the developer.

This is exactly the point. My constituents are deeply concerned as a result of some developers’ unscrupulous behaviour in appointing inspectors and building control approvers who they know will give them an easy ride. My hon. Friend may be familiar with the case of New Lawrence House in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester Central (Lucy Powell), which has the same developer that turns up often in my constituency. The issue was not that there was a definite intent to collude with the developer but that it was easier to turn a bit of a blind eye. Leaseholders in my constituency are worried about that real issue, so I strongly support his amendments.

I am not aware of the particular scheme that my hon. Friend mentions, but unfortunately it is all too common that concerns are raised after the event about the quality of building control. It can sometimes be that an independent building control inspector approved a development, but all too often it is someone appointed by the developer, and that is not right. I am sure that the Minister will not have a conversion when he responds to the debate, but I hope that he might consider that this needs addressing in the future.

Let me turn to amendment 74, which is about the buildings in scope for the new regulatory regime. The Select Committee has been on the record as welcoming the Government’s approach to stronger regulation with the new Building Safety Regulator under the umbrella of the Health and Safety Executive. We supported all that, with one or two questions and reservations in our response on the draft Bill, but we said that the scope of that regulation should eventually be expanded to include other buildings. I think that the Government accept that in principle but do not want to lay down on the face of the Bill the other factors that might be taken into account to expand that scope of regulation at a future date.

My amendment seeks, as the Select Committee has recommended, to ensure that the requirement on residents’ ability to evacuate a building explicitly includes and takes into account their vulnerability, and that the number of means of egress is included on the face of the Bill. We recognise that the Government have gone a bit further with the new regulation, which now includes some hospitals and care residences, but we do not think it goes far enough.

In looking to the future—we recognise that the new regulator will have to move in a considered way, and it is important that the highest-risk buildings are considered first—we believe that, eventually, there ought to be a requirement to consider extending the scope of regulation. Where a building has within it vulnerable people, who will take longer to get out of the building in the event of a fire, or where the means of access and egress are limited—as in the proposal to build a 50-storey tower block with one means of fire escape, which fortunately was withdrawn the other day from a local planning committee—that factor ought to be taken into account when extending the scope of the new regulatory regime to other buildings in the future. Again, we are not saying it has to be done today or tomorrow; we are merely saying that that issue should inform future decisions about extending the scope of the new and important building safety regulatory regime. I would hope that the Government will eventually give approval to those approaches, if not today. We will not push the amendments to a vote, but at least we have put the issue back on the agenda for future consideration.

I rise to speak in support of amendment 73, tabled my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield South East (Mr Betts), and amendment 1, tabled by the hon. Member for Waveney (Peter Aldous). The Bill renames “private approved inspectors” “building control approvers”. Not just amendment 73 has touched on the issue; other Members have done that through other new clauses and amendments. I wish to express my support for the Fire Brigades Union’s opposition to those private inspectors, which, as it argues, undermine professional local authority building control and weaken building safety regulation.

Amendment 1 is about the Building Safety Regulator. Again, I share the alarm expressed by the Fire Brigades Union that the Building Safety Regulator would be permitted to seek private sector involvement if the fire authority cannot assist. Surely it is obvious why private firms cannot be given licence to sign off on fire safety matters relating to higher-risk buildings. Fire safety is a matter for professional firefighters, not profiteers, and it is not clear how the new Building Regulations Advisory Committee will be constituted. I would be grateful if the Minister could say more about that.

Many of us would like to see the Government re-establish a statutory fire safety advisory body, with guaranteed representation for trade unions and residents. As the Bill progresses, I would like to see legislation and provision that apply to all residential buildings above 11 metres in height, an idea that has been echoed by Members of all parties. Any new regime should apply to other multi-occupancy institutional or residential buildings, which was also touched on in various amendments.

It would be helpful to hear from the Minister whether the Government have any plans to introduce a threshold height at which two staircases are required in order to provide means of both resident escape and firefighter entry. As he will no doubt be aware, concerns were raised that the plans for Ballymore’s proposed 51-storey development in Cuba Street in my constituency included only a single fire escape for a building that would have been two and half times the height of Grenfell tower.

Elsewhere in my constituency, the recent fire at Ballymore’s New Providence Wharf, where the fire spread between multiple floors and the ventilation system failed, led to smoke spreading throughout the building. That demonstrates the potential shortcomings of relying on stay put evacuation policies, so it would be helpful to know whether the Government have any plans to commit to addressing that in the Bill.

I congratulate my hon. Friend on the work that she has done to draw wider attention to the Ballymore application, and indeed it has now been withdrawn. That is happening everywhere, however: on the border of my constituency, one over 50-storey block is already under construction and three others are in planning with, again, one staircase each. It is ridiculous to say that the stay put policy is the answer to that, because post Grenfell, people will not stay put and we understand exactly why.

I thank my hon. Friend for making that point strongly. I share his concern that there is too much of a free pass in that situation and such buildings should just not be allowed to be presented. On his point, the Cuba Street development has been withdrawn for now, but it is only paused. It will come back and there is no guarantee that all the problems will be addressed, so it would be helpful to know whether the Government have any plans to address that issue and, if not, whether they will commit to a national independent review of stay put policies, particularly given that the Cuba Street proposal was allowed under existing building regulations.

At present, there are insufficient fire safety inspectors after decades of cuts and increased workloads. It is urgent that the fire and rescue service is properly funded and resourced, because people have a right to be safe in their own homes. The Bill is a small step forward, but it does not resolve the overall building safety crisis across the UK. In the words of the Fire Brigades Union, it is at best

“a sticking plaster over a gaping wound unless the whole regime rebuild around need rather than profit.”

I rise to speak in support of new clauses 1, 2, 15, 16 and 23. The events at Grenfell Tower were devastating, with the tragic loss of 72 lives, which shocked us all. Words will never adequately describe the pain felt by the families and friends of the victims. Later, though, as light was shed on the extensive preventable failings that led to the disaster, justifiable anger followed.

I am glad to see the Bill progress through this place, but it should not have taken almost five years. I welcome the Secretary of State’s recent announcement that leaseholders in England will not face the astronomical costs of remediating unsafe cladding. I am pleased that the Government have taken a moral stance on the issue.

Unfortunately, there are still gaps that must be plugged, and I hope that the Minister’s promise of statutory protection against all building safety defects will materialise. For my constituents, I hope that the Government will engage in a constructive dialogue with the Scottish Government to ensure that leaseholder protection can be extended across the UK fully funded.

There is still a glaring lack of clarity and the Government must facilitate funding being available across the devolved Administrations to achieve an equal standing. Although much of the Bill has limited territorial extent, there are some key areas that apply across the UK and in Scotland, such as the testing and inspection of construction products.

Early last year, it was announced that the independent panel on the safety of construction materials would review the testing system and how it can be strengthened so that product safety confidence can be restored. The industry is still awaiting the report’s publication, which prompts the question of how we can fully scrutinise the Bill’s measures without knowing what the review found. Can the Minister provide a definitive date for when it will be available? Will he also provide an update on the establishment of a national regulator for construction products?

As it stands, there are a limited number of private product testing companies, and fewer still of the accredited bodies’ testing sites, which means limited access to the furnaces that are used to test all combustible building materials and products. Subsequently, there are huge delays in products moving through the testing system.

Some companies are reporting delays of up to six months to test their products. The accredited sites are managed by private sector companies, and as demand increases and supply decreases, the price set by those bodies climbs. Concerns have been raised that that model incentivises the maximising of profit over the quality of testing.

The Government must also be cautious not to create widespread quality disparity between existing buildings and new ones of any height. While preservation of life is of course the most key consideration, the lifespan of buildings must be protected too. Buildings such as schools, hospitals and care homes, which hon. Members have mentioned, should have a mandatory requirement for sprinklers. By making such buildings as safe and resilient as possible, human life is protected, yes, but many other things too. Schools are pillars of the community. Where do those students go to learn if their school burns down, or for a hospital, where do the patients go? What delays will essential services suffer?

The Bill is a mammoth piece of legislation and it is easy to look at each single part in turn to make it digestible, but a key finding in Dame Judith Hackitt’s review was that there needs to be a holistic, whole-building approach to fire safety. We ought to apply that principle here and take a whole-Bill approach, to truly understand how it will work in practice.

I am grateful to all Members across the House for their contributions to the debate. I will speak in response to the non-Government amendments first and then, as I progress through my remarks, pick up the points that have been raised about the Government’s amendments.

New clause 1 was tabled by the hon. Member for Oldham East and Saddleworth (Debbie Abrahams), who is not in her place; we wish her a swift recovery. I thank her for raising the matter, and I recognise that the issue that she has embedded in her amendment is intended to address the fact that the poor adversarial practices in the way that payments are charged and made within the built environment can lead to unsafe, low-quality building safety outcomes as well as poor value for money.

I assure all hon. Members that we agree that the issue is important. There is already work across Government to ensure that fair and prompt payment practices are addressed with industry—such as the construction playbook, which captures commercial best practice and specific sector reforms, outlining the Government’s expectations of how contracting authorities and suppliers, including in the supply chain, should engage with each other. That is resetting the relationship between the construction industry and the Government. It is focused on delivering a more sustainable, modern industry, better able to deliver high-quality built assets for its clients.

We published guidance as a result of work set up with the Construction Leadership Council and the procurement advisory group, alongside our recent announcement. We will now work with industry to implement the principles of that guidance as widely as we can. We support industry to lead its own important culture change to deliver the very significant changes being brought forward in the Bill. There is existing legislation—part II of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996—that aims to create a framework for a fair and prompt process of payment through the construction supply chain and the resolution procedure for disputes. The intention in that framework is to ensure that it is implemented throughout the construction contract.

Turning to new clause 2 and amendment 1, tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Waveney (Peter Aldous), our assessment is that the new Building Safety Regulator has the right two objectives to deliver this critical mission, and adding a further objective around property protection would not be necessary or beneficial.

The Bill provides the Building Safety Regulator with a broad statutory objective to improve the standard of buildings, which enables it to consider the overall performance of buildings. Meeting this objective could involve the regulator looking at such specific areas highly relevant to property protection such as security, resilience and fire safety. Therefore, we do not believe that an additional objective is necessary. Adding a specific Building Safety Regulator objective on property protection would also confuse and dilute its mission—that issue was raised in Committee. I think there was agreement across the Committee that we do not want to confuse or obfuscate the responsibilities of the Building Safety Regulator as it is set up and beds in. We want a proportionate regulatory regime that avoids putting undue and unnecessary pressures on leaseholders, but we also want to make sure that the regime builds in and beds in effectively, so I hope my hon. Friend will feel able to withdraw his amendments.

The hon. Member for Hammersmith (Andy Slaughter) spoke in support of new clauses 15 and 16. Again, I am grateful to him for raising this important matter, and I can assure him that his intention is being met by the Government. Social homes are already safer than homes in other tenures in respect of electrical safety. Indeed, in 2019, 72% of social homes had all five electrical safety features compared with 60% in owner-occupied tenures and 65% of private-rented homes.

Social landlords are already required to keep electrical installations in repair due to their obligations under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, and free of electrical hazards as a result of the Homes (Fitness for Habitation) Act 2018, a Back-Bench Bill that received Government support. Since the beginning of 2019, the regulator of social housing has issued 20 regulatory judgments related wholly or partly to electrical safety issues.

The social housing White Paper that we have committed to, will involve consultation on electrical safety requirements in the social sector, and expert stakeholders will participate in the Government-led working group to inform the content of this consultation, so I hope the hon. Gentleman will feel able, as he said, not to press his new clauses. I am certainly happy to keep in discussion with him, because I appreciate that it is a matter of concern to him, as it should be to the entire House.

Let me turn now to new clause 17, tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool North and Cleveleys (Paul Maynard). He reminded me that we served together in Her Majesty’s Government’s Whips Office. He described it as a horror. He did not tell the House for whom it was a horror—him or his colleagues in the Whips Office. I shall leave the House to make its own judgments as to what he actually meant. None the less, I am grateful to him for raising a very important issue. Our desire to reduce deaths, injuries and hospitalisations on staircases is laudable. I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mark Fletcher) has a very particular and personal reason for taking an interest in the matter. We are committed, through current legislation and guidance, to supporting safety on staircases. We are acutely aware of the risk of death and injury that can be caused by staircases.

The new building safety regime places building safety at the heart of our very consciousness. The Building Safety Regulator will use all the evidence that it gathers to identify emerging issues with the safety and performance of buildings, including staircases, and will make recommendations to Ministers where they consider that changes to standards or guidance may be needed.

There are two reasons why, having said all that, I cannot accept my hon. Friend’s amendment. He clearly benefits from second sight—either that or he has had a sneaky peak at my speech without my knowledge—with respect to my first point. It is highly unusual, as he said in his own remarks, for the Government to include such detailed proposals in an Act of Parliament. The second reason relates to how we have structured secondary legislation, at least in recent decades. Building regulations are outcome-based, rather than prescriptive. I am keen to discuss further with my hon. Friend how we can ensure that the objectives—the outcomes—that he seeks to achieve might be met through the rather technical method of regulation. I therefore commit to talk further to him and others who have an interest in this matter.

New clause 18 was introduced by the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle (Emma Hardy), who spoke eloquently on flood mitigation for new homes. There is a well established regulatory system. The national planning policy framework, which was updated recently, is clear that:

“Inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding should be avoided”.

I refer her to my speech in the Adjournment debate secured by my hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham (Greg Smith) for further particulars on what is in the NPPF and what further actions we might take.

I say to the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle in all candour that I do not believe that this Bill is the right place for new clause 18. It is a planning matter, rather than a building safety matter. I am certainly keen to continue to look at flooding issues and flood resilience, as we bring forward further legislation that relates specifically to planning. I am sure that we will have further engagement at that point.

Moving on to the new clauses and amendments raised by the hon. Member for Sheffield South East (Mr Betts), as ever I thank the Chairman of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee for his wise counsel and the great care that he and his Committee take to consider the Government’s proposals and present their own counter-proposals, shall we call them? Perhaps “enhancements” would be a better way of describing them.

On new clauses 23 and 73, we believe that there is no need to create a system of independent appointment. The Bill already takes unprecedented steps to raise standards in building control. We are introducing a system of oversight of the performance of building control bodies, and we are turning building control into a regulated profession, with a system of individual registration based on competence and adherence to a code of conduct. That was debated by the Bill Committee, which agreed with the trajectory on which the Government are set.

The Bill introduces a new professional framework for the whole building control sector: both public and private sector building control bodies will have to obtain and consider the advice of a registered building inspector before exercising key regulatory activities and functions, and the Building Safety Regulator can decide whether any restrictions or conditions should be imposed on the inspector’s registration. That extra step ensures that all building control bodies are making key decisions based on advice from a professional who is proven and competent.

The hon. Member for Sheffield South East spoke in support of amendment 74. I thank him for his interest and recognise the concerns that led to his tabling it. I assure him that the Bill makes provision for the Building Safety Regulator to consider a wide range of factors that influence the level of risk in categories of buildings before making recommendations or providing advice as to which categories should be considered higher risk. The Secretary of State can already consider the vulnerability of residents when making regulations. We have already responded to concerns of stakeholders and, as he said, included hospitals and care homes of at least 18 metres in height or seven stories in the new design and construction elements of the regime. That is to ensure that higher-rise buildings, which may be occupied by those who are unable to evacuate quickly or without the assistance of others, are designed and constructed under the new, more stringent regime. As ever, I am very happy to maintain a respectful and, I hope, helpful dialogue. I hope the hon. Gentleman will feel able not to press his amendment to a Division and to keep talking, as we want to ensure that the Building Safety Regulator and the regime, as it beds in, can evolve as appropriate, rather than trying to place upon it in statute too many responsibilities too soon in its life cycle.

The hon. Member for St Albans (Daisy Cooper) spoke in favour of new clauses 24 and 25, which she tabled. The Building Safety Regulator will be the building control body for higher-risk buildings. It may, in some limited cases, be the building control body for some buildings that are not higher risk under a regulator’s notice. Where local authorities have the right skills and the capacity to assist the Building Safety Regulator and do not have a conflict of interest, we believe they should do so, and the Bill enables that to happen. However, we recognise that the Building Safety Regulator must have the right competence and capacity for its work, as I said earlier. We are therefore providing it with the powers it needs to procure the services of registered building control approvers where needed, so that it can secure the appropriate skills and expertise to deliver its regulatory function, as I said in remarking on other amendments. I hope the hon. Lady will therefore feel able not to press her new clauses to Divisions.

Before I wind up, I should try to address two points raised by the shadow Minister, the hon. Member for Greenwich and Woolwich (Matthew Pennycook). He raised the question of special measures and payments made by accountable persons to special measures managers. Special measures managers will receive the building safety charge directly. I can tell him that additional costs can be directly recovered from the accountable person. Whether leaseholders are charged by the accountable person is a matter for the lease. They can only be charged if the lease allows it.

The hon. Gentleman also asked about me about what one might call the forfeiture gap. We are working across Government to help leaseholders, as I remarked earlier on, and we will consider the gap and engage with Members across the House and other interested parties as we do so.

This, again, has been a good debate—perhaps a quieter debate, on much more technical matters, but they are no less important to make sure we have a Bill that is effective and a Bill that works. I hope the House will be able to support the Government in opposing, benignly, the new clauses and amendments I have mentioned.

Question put and agreed to.

New clause 19 accordingly read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

Clause 58

Overview of part

Amendments made: 11, page 81, line 5, leave out “sections 104 to 113” and insert

“section (Special measures) and Schedule (Special measures)”.

This amendment is consequential on NC19 and NS1.

Amendment 12, page 81, line 7, at end insert

“, and make further provision in connection with that appointment”.

This amendment is consequential on NC19 and NS1.

Clause 73

Requirement for completion certificate before occupation

Amendment made: 13, page 89, line 28, leave out “statutory maximum” and insert “maximum summary term”.

This amendment clarifies that a person guilty of an offence under clause 73 is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding the maximum summary term for either-way offences (as defined in clause 125).

Clause 74

Occupation: registration requirement

Amendment made: 14, page 90, line 23, at end insert—

‘(4) In this section “registered” means registered under section 75.”

This amendment clarifies that “registered” means registered under clause 75.

Clause 75

Registration of higher-risk buildings

Amendment made: 15, page 90, line 34, at end insert—

“(aa) the updating or other revision of information in the register;”

This amendment provides that regulations under subsection (4) may make provision about the updating or other revision of the register.

Clause 82

Terms of appointment of building safety manager

Amendment made: 16, page 95, line 32, leave out “section 106(4)” and insert “paragraph 5(4) of Schedule (Special measures)”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 19 and NS1.

After Clause 103

Amendments made: 17, page 110, line 2, leave out Clause 104.

This amendment and Amendments 18 to 26 remove clauses 104 to 113 (special measures) with a view to provision about special measures appearing in NS1.

Amendment 18, page 111, line 26, leave out Clause 105.

See the explanatory statement to Amendment 17.

Amendment 19, page 112, line 7, leave out Clause 106.

See the explanatory statement to Amendment 17.

Amendment 20, page 112, line 22, leave out Clause 107.

See the explanatory statement to Amendment 17.

Amendment 21, page 113, line 27, leave out Clause 108.

See the explanatory statement to Amendment 17.

Amendment 22, page 115, line 3, leave out Clause 109.

See the explanatory statement to Amendment 17.

Amendment 23, page 115, line 24, leave out Clause 110.

See the explanatory statement to Amendment 17.

Amendment 24, page 115, line 36, leave out Clause 111.

See the explanatory statement to Amendment 17.

Amendment 25, page 117, line 13, leave out Clause 112.

See the explanatory statement to Amendment 17.

Amendment 26, page 118, line 1, leave out Clause 113.

See the explanatory statement to Amendment 17.

Clause 122

Implied terms in leases and recovery of safety related costs

Amendments made: 27, page 126, line 13, leave out “section 125 of” and insert

“paragraph 1 of Schedule (Special measures) to”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 39.

Amendment 28, page 126, line 15, leave out “section 125 of” and insert

“paragraph 1 of Schedule (Special measures) to”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 39.

Amendment 29, page 126, line 35, at end insert—

“(6A) In section 81 of the Housing Act 1996 (restriction on termination of tenancy for failure to pay service charge) after subsection (4A) insert—

‘(4B) References in this section (except subsection (5)) to a service charge include a building safety charge within the meaning of paragraph 1 of Schedule 2 to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.’

(6B) In section 167 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 (failure to pay small amount for short period) after subsection (4) insert—

“(4A) In subsection (1) the reference to service charges includes building safety charges within the meaning of paragraph 1 of Schedule 2 to the 1985 Act.””

This amendment extends existing protections against forfeiture of a lease on the ground of non-payment of a service charge to non-payment of a building safety charge.

Amendment 30, page 126, line 36, leave out “the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002” and insert “that Act”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 29.

Clause 123

Provision of building safety information

Amendments made: 31, page 127, line 32, leave out “section 125 of” and insert

“paragraph 1 of Schedule (Special measures) to”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 39.

Amendment 32, page 129, line 4 [Clause 123], leave out “section 125 of” and insert

“paragraph 1 of Schedule (Special measures) to”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 39.

Clause 124

Amendments to the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002

Amendments made: 33, page 130, line 30, after “commonhold association” insert

“or special measures manager for the higher-risk building”.

This amendment and Amendment 34 provide that the definition of “building safety expenses of the association” in relation to a commonhold association include the expenses incurred by a special measures manager for the building.

Amendment 34, page 130, line 31, after “association” insert “or manager”.

This amendment and Amendment 33 provide that the definition of “building safety expenses of the association” in relation to a commonhold association include the expenses incurred by a special measures manager for the building.

Amendment 35, page 130, line 33, at end insert—

““special measures manager” means a person appointed under paragraph 4 of Schedule (Special measures) to the Building Safety Act 2022.””

This amendment defines “special measures manager” for the purposes of inserted section 38A.

Clause 125

Interpretation of Part 4

Amendments made: 36, page 131, leave out lines 13 and 14.

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 17, 24 and 26.

Amendment 37, page 131, leave out lines 24 to 32.

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 17, 24 and 26.

Amendment 38, page 132, leave out lines 4 and 5.

This amendment is consequential on amendments 17, 24 and 26.

Amendment 39, page 132, line 17, leave out “means a person appointed under section 105” and insert

“has the meaning given by paragraph 1 of Schedule (Special measures)”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 18.

Amendment 40, page 132, line 19, leave out “has the same meaning as in section 105” and insert

“has the meaning given by paragraph 1 of Schedule (Special measures)”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 18.

Clause 146

Regulations

Amendments made: 59, page 148, line 32, at end insert—

“(za) section 131(6)(b) (new homes ombudsman scheme: meaning of “developer”),”

This amendment removes the regulation making power about the meaning of “developer” from the general provisions about powers as bespoke provision is made for this power (see NC20).

Amendment 60, page 149, line 13, after “69,” insert “71,”.

This amendment provides for regulations made under clause 71 to be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.

Amendment 61, page 149, line 13, leave out “104(10), 111(10), 113,”.

This amendment and Amendment 63 are consequential on Amendments 17, 24 and 26 and NS1.

Amendment 62, page 149, line 14, leave out “131(6)(b)”.

See explanatory statement for Amendment 59.

Amendment 63, page 149, line 14, at end insert

“or paragraph 2(12), 13(10) or 15(5) of Schedule (Special measures)”.

This amendment and Amendment 61 are consequential on Amendments 17, 24 and 26 and NS1.(Christopher Pincher.)

Clause 147

Extent

Amendments made: 64, page 149, line 32, at end insert—

“(aa) paragraphs 87 and 88 of Schedule 5 (and section 54 so far as relating to those paragraphs);”

This amendment provides that the consequential amendments, in Schedule 5 to the Bill, of the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000 extend to (ie form part of the law of) England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Amendment 65, page 149, line 34, leave out “and” and insert “to”.

This amendment is consequential on NC22, and provides for the new clause to extend to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Amendment 66, page 149, line 36, leave out subsection (3) and insert—

“(3) The following provisions extend to England and Wales and Scotland—

(a) section 2(2) and Schedule 1 (amendments of Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974);

(b) sections 129 to (Amendments of the Government of Wales Act 2006) and Schedule 8 (new homes ombudsman scheme).”

This amendment adjusts the extent of the provisions about the new homes ombudsman scheme so they form part of the law of Scotland as well as England and Wales.

Amendment 67, page 149, line 37, at end insert—

“(4) The amendments made by Schedule (Amendments in connection with the new homes ombudsman scheme) (amendments in connection with the new homes ombudsman scheme) have the same extent as the provision amended.”

This amendment sets out the extent of the amendments made by the new Schedule included in the Bill by NS2.

Clause 148

Commencement and transitional provision

Amendments made: 68, page 150, line 19, at end insert—

“(za) section 127;”

This amendment provides that clause 127 comes into force two months after Royal Assent.

Amendment 69, page 150, line 22, leave out paragraphs (c) and (d) and insert—

“(c) sections 137 to 138.”—(Christopher Pincher.)

This amendment is consequential on NC22, and provides for the new clause to commence two months after Royal Assent.

New Schedule 1

Special measures

Introductory

7 In this Schedule—

“special measures manager” means a person appointed under paragraph 10;

“special measures order” means an order under paragraph 10.

Notification by regulator before applying for special measures order

8 (1) This paragraph applies where the regulator proposes to make an application under paragraph 10 for a special measures order in relation to an occupied higher-risk building.

(2) The regulator must give a notice (an “initial notice”) of the proposal to—

(a) each accountable person for the building,

(b) any building safety manager for the building,

(c) each resident of the building who is aged 16 or over,

(d) each owner of a residential unit in the building,

(e) any managing agent for the building or any relevant part of the building,

(f) any recognised tenants’ association for the building or any part of the building,

(g) any manager appointed under section 24 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 in relation to the building or any part of the building,

(h) the fire and rescue authority for the area in which the building is situated,

(i) the local housing authority for the area in which the building is situated,

(j) where any accountable person for the building is a registered provider of social housing, the Regulator of Social Housing, and

(k) where any part of the building contains premises occupied for the purposes of a business, each responsible person (within the meaning of article 3 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005) in relation to those premises.

(3) The initial notice must—

(a) state that the regulator proposes to make an application for a special measures order in relation to the building,

(b) specify the address of the building,

(c) specify the reasons for the proposed application,

(d) specify the terms of the order that the regulator proposes to invite the tribunal to make (including the name and address of the person the regulator proposes to be the special measures manager for the building),

(e) specify a period in which recipients of the notice may make representations in response to the notice, and

(f) state that any representations must be in writing to such postal or email address as is specified in the notice.

(4) Where the terms specified by virtue of sub-paragraph (3)(d) include a term requiring an accountable person for the building to make payments to the special measures manager for the building, the regulator must give to the persons mentioned in sub-paragraph (2) a financial management proposal with the initial notice.

(5) After the end of the period mentioned in sub-paragraph (3)(e) the regulator must—

(a) decide whether to make the application, and

(b) give a notice (a “final notice”) of its decision to the persons mentioned in sub-paragraph (2).

(6) The final notice must—

(a) state whether or not the regulator intends to make the application,

(b) specify the reasons for reaching that decision, and

(c) if the regulator intends to make the application, specify the terms of the order that the regulator intends to invite the tribunal to make (including the name and address of the person the regulator proposes to be the special measures manager for the building).

(7) Where the terms specified by virtue of sub-paragraph (6)(c) include a term requiring an accountable person for the building to make payments to the special measures manager for the building, the regulator must give to the persons mentioned in sub-paragraph (2) a financial management proposal with the final notice.

(8) The regulator must comply with sub-paragraphs (5) to (7) before making the application.

(9) The duty under sub-paragraph (2), (4), (5)(b) or (7) does not apply in relation to a person mentioned in sub-paragraph (2) if the regulator—

(a) is not aware of the person, and

(b) has taken all reasonable steps to ascertain the identity of the persons mentioned in that sub-paragraph.

(10) In this paragraph—

“financial management proposal” has the meaning given by paragraph 9;

“relevant part”, in relation to a higher-risk building, means any part of the building except premises occupied for the purposes of a business.

(11) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision in relation to notices under this paragraph, including in particular provision about—

(a) the form of the notice;

(b) the way in which the notice must be given.

(12) The Secretary of State may by regulations amend the list in sub-paragraph (2).

Meaning of “financial management proposal”

9 (1) In this Schedule “financial management proposal”, in relation to a higher-risk building, means a document setting out—

(a) an estimate of the relevant expenses the regulator expects a special measures manager for the building to incur (including a reasonable amount in respect of contingencies),

(b) the measures to which the relevant expenses relate, and

(a) if there is more than one accountable person for the building—

(i) the regulator's proposed apportionment of the relevant expenses between them, and

(ii) the reasons for that proposal (including any calculation giving rise to it).

(2) In this Schedule—

“building safety charge” has the meaning given by Schedule 2 to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985;

“relevant expenses” means expenses incurred by the special measures manager for a higher-risk building in connection with the exercise of their functions in relation to the building after deducting amounts received or receivable by the manager by way of building safety charges in respect of those expenses.

Special measures order

10 (1) The regulator may apply to the tribunal for an order under this paragraph in relation to an occupied higher-risk building (a “special measures order”).

(2) A special measures order is an order appointing a person to be the manager (a “special measures manager”) for the building to carry out the functions of all accountable persons for the building under, or under regulations made under, this Part (except the duty to appoint a building safety manager under section 80).

(3) A special measures order may also appoint the manager to carry out any function as a receiver in relation to—

(a) building safety charges, or

(b) commonhold building safety assessments.

(4) The tribunal may make a special measures order if satisfied that there has been a serious failure, or a failure on two or more occasions, by an accountable person for the building to comply with a duty imposed on that person under, or under regulations made under, this Part.

(5) A special measures order may make provision with respect to—

(a) payments to be made by an accountable person for the building to the special measures manager in connection with relevant expenses incurred, or to be incurred, by the manager,

(b) any other matter relating to the exercise of the manager’s functions, and

(c) any incidental or ancillary matter.

(6) A special measures order may not make the provision mentioned in sub-paragraph (5)(a) in relation to a higher-risk building on commonhold land.

(7) A special measures order continues in force until it is discharged.

(8) In this Schedule “commonhold building safety assessment” means income raised from commonhold unit-holders by virtue of section 38A of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.

Special measures order: supplementary

11 (1) This paragraph applies where a special measures order is made in relation to a higher-risk building.

(2) While the order is in force any function of an accountable person for the building under, or under regulations made under, this Part is to be treated as a function of the special measures manager for the building, except any function relating to—

(a) the making of an application to the tribunal, or

(b) the making of an appeal to the tribunal.

(3) Any compliance notice given under section 101 relating to the building ceases to have effect (but this does not affect any liability incurred as a result of a contravention of a compliance notice occurring before the making of the order).

(4) The appointment of any building safety manager for the building under section 80 ceases to have effect.

Payments received by special measures manager to be held on trust

12 (1) This paragraph applies where a special measures order relating to a higher-risk building requires one or more accountable persons for the building to make payments to the special measures manager for the building.

(2) The manager must hold the payments (together with any income accruing on those payments) as either—

(a) a single trust fund, or

(b) in two or more separate trust funds.

(3) The manager must hold any trust fund—

(a) on trust to defray relevant expenses, and

(b) subject to that, on trust for the accountable person or persons for the building for the time being.

(4) The accountable person or persons for the building for the time being are to be treated as entitled by virtue of sub-paragraph (3)(b) to—

(a) if there is one accountable person for the building, the residue of the fund or funds;

(b) otherwise, to such shares in that residue as the accountable persons may agree in writing or (in default of agreement) as the tribunal may direct.

(5) An application for a direction under sub-paragraph (4)(b) may be made by—

(a) the regulator,

(b) an accountable person for the building, or

(c) the manager.

Effect of special measures order on relevant contracts and legal proceedings

13 (1) Sub-paragraphs (2) and (4) apply while a special measures order relating to a higher-risk building is in force.

(2) A relevant contract has effect as if the rights and liabilities of a relevant person arising under the contract were the rights and liabilities of the special measures manager for the building.

(3) A contract is a “relevant contract” if—

(a) it is effective on the date the special measures order is made,

(b) one of the parties to it is a relevant person,

(c) it relates to a relevant function of a relevant person,

(d) it is specified for the purposes of this sub-paragraph in the special measures order or falls within a description of contracts so specified, and

(e) the manager gives notices in writing to the parties to it stating that sub-paragraph (2) is to apply to it.

(4) The special measures manager for the building may bring, continue or defend a relevant cause of action.

(5) A cause of action is a “relevant cause of action” if—

(a) it accrued to or against a relevant person before the date the special measures order was made,

(b) it relates to a relevant function of a relevant person,

(c) it is specified for the purposes of this sub-paragraph in the special measures order or falls within a description of causes of action so specified, and

(d) the manager gives notice in writing to any person the manager considers would have an interest in the cause of action that sub-paragraph (4) is to apply to it.

(6) Where, by virtue of this paragraph, the special measures manager for the building is subject to a liability to pay damages in respect of anything done (or not done) before the date of their appointment by or on behalf of a relevant person, that person is liable to reimburse to the manager an amount equal to the amount of damages paid by the manager.

(7) In this paragraph—

“relevant function” means—

(a) in relation to an accountable person for the building, a function of that person under, or under regulations made under, this Part in relation to the building;

(b) in relation to the building safety manager for the building, any BSM duty of that person (within the meaning of section 80) in relation to the building;

“relevant person” means—

(a) an accountable person for the building in relation to which the special measures order is made;

(b) the building safety manager for that building immediately before the special measures order was made.

Special measures orders and orders under section 24 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987

14 (1) Sub-paragraph (2) applies where—

(a) the tribunal makes a special measures order in relation to a higher-risk building, and

(b) an order under section 24 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 appointing a manager in relation to that building is in force (a “section 24 order”).

(2) The tribunal may amend the section 24 order so as to ensure that the functions to be carried out by virtue of that order do not include any function that the special measures order provides is to be carried out by the special measures manager.

(3) In section 24 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987, after subsection (2B) insert—

“(2C) Where a special measures order relating to the building is in force, an order under this section may not provide for a manager to carry out a function which the special measures order provides is to be carried out by the special measures manager for the building.

(2D) In this section—

“special measures manager” means a person appointed under paragraph 10 of Schedule (Special measures) to the Building Safety Act 2022;

“special measures order” means an order under paragraph 10 of Schedule (Special measures) to the Building Safety Act 2022.”

15 (1) The Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 21(2) after “subsection (3)” insert “and section 24ZA”.

(3) After section 24 insert—

“24ZA Application for appointment of manager by special measures manager

(1) A special measures manager for an occupied higher-risk building may apply to the appropriate tribunal for an order under section 24 (as modified by subsection (4)) appointing a manager to act in relation to premises to which this section applies.

(2) This section applies to premises consisting of the whole or part of the higher-risk building if the building or part contains two or more flats.

(3) Section 22 applies in relation to such an application as if—

(a) for subsection (1) there were substituted—

“(1) Before an application for an order under section 24 is made in respect of any premises to which section 24ZA applies by a special measures manager for an occupied higher-risk building, a notice under this section must (subject to subsection (3)) be served by the special measures manager on—

(a) the landlord;

(b) any person (other than the landlord) by whom obligations relating to the management of the premises or any part of them are owed to tenants of flats contained in those premises under a tenancy;

(c) each accountable person for the higher-risk building.”;

(b) for subsection (2)(a) there were substituted—

“(a) specify the special measures manager’s name and an address in England and Wales at which any person on whom the notice is served may serve notices, including notices in proceedings, on the special measures manager in connection with this Part;”;

(c) in subsection (2)(b)—

(i) for “tenant” there were substituted “special measures manager”;

(ii) for “this Part” there were substituted “section 24ZA”;

(d) in subsection (2)(c) for “tenant” there were substituted “special measures manager”.

(4) Section 24 applies in relation to such an application as if—

(a) in subsection (1) for “this Part” there were substituted “section 24ZA”;

(b) for subsection (2) there were substituted—

“(2) The appropriate tribunal may only make an order under this section where it is satisfied—

(a) that—

(b) that other circumstances exist which make it just and convenient for the order to be made.”;

(c) subsections (2A), (2B) and (10) were omitted.

(5) In this section “special measures manager” has the meaning given by section 24(2D).”

Provision of financial assistance by regulator

16 (1) The regulator may give financial assistance to the special measures manager for a higher-risk building by way of loans or grants.

(2) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision in relation to financial assistance given under this paragraph, including in particular provision about—

(a) the circumstances in which financial assistance may be given;

(b) the kind of financial assistance that may be given;

(c) conditions that may or must be attached to any financial assistance (including conditions as to repayment).

(3) In this paragraph “special measures manager”, in relation to a higher-risk building, includes the person who was the special measures manager for that building immediately before the special measures order relating to the building was discharged.

Special measures order: further directions

17 (1) This paragraph applies while a special measures order relating to a higher-risk building is in force.

(2) On an application by a person mentioned in sub-paragraph (3) the tribunal may give directions to the special measures manager for the building or any other person with respect to—

(a) any matter relating to the exercise of the manager’s functions, and

(b) any incidental or ancillary matter.

(3) The persons are—

(a) the regulator,

(b) an accountable person for the building, or

(c) the manager.

Regulator to keep certain matters under review

18 (1) This paragraph applies while a special measures order relating to a higher-risk building is in force.

(2) The regulator must, from time to time (and at least once every 12 months), review the following matters—

(a) the measures taken by the special measures manager in exercising the manager’s functions;

(b) the expenses incurred by the manager in connection with taking those measures;

(c) any payments made by accountable persons for the building to the manager in respect of any of those expenses;

(d) any amounts received by the manager by way of building safety charges or commonhold building safety assessments in relation to the building.

(3) If, on such a review, the regulator considers that any term of the order should be varied, it must make such application under paragraph 20 as it considers appropriate.

Notification by regulator before applying to vary special measures order

19 (1) This paragraph applies where the regulator proposes to make an application under paragraph 20 to vary a special measures order relating to a higher-risk building.

(2) The regulator must give a notice (an “initial notice”) of the proposal to—

(a) each accountable person for the building,

(b) each resident of the building who is aged 16 or over,

(c) each owner of a residential unit in the building,

(d) any managing agent for the building or any relevant part of the building,

(e) any recognised tenants’ association for the building or any part of the building,

(f) any manager appointed under section 24 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 in relation to the building or any part of the building,

(g) the fire and rescue authority for the area in which the building is situated,

(h) the local housing authority for the area in which the building is situated,

(i) where any accountable person for the building is a registered provider of social housing, the Regulator of Social Housing, and

(j) where any part of the building contains premises occupied for the purposes of a business, each responsible person (within the meaning of article 3 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005) in relation to those premises.

(3) The initial notice must—

(a) state that the regulator proposes to make an application to vary the special measures order specified in the notice,

(b) specify the reasons for the proposed application,

(c) specify the terms of the order that the regulator proposes to invite the tribunal to make,

(d) specify a period in which recipients of the notice may make representations in response to the notice, and

(e) state that any representations must be in writing to such postal or email address as is specified in the notice.

(4) After the end of the period mentioned in sub-paragraph (3)(d) the regulator must—

(a) decide whether to make the application, and

(b) give a notice (a “final notice”) of its decision to the persons mentioned in sub-paragraph (2).

(5) The final notice must—

(a) state whether or not the regulator intends to make the application,

(b) specify the reasons for reaching that decision, and

(c) if the regulator intends to make the application, specify the terms of the order that the regulator intends to invite the tribunal to make.

(6) The regulator must comply with sub-paragraphs (4) and (5) before making the application.

(7) The duty under sub-paragraph (2) or (4)(b) does not apply in relation to a person mentioned in sub-paragraph (2) if the regulator—

(a) is not aware of the person, and

(b) has taken all reasonable steps to ascertain the identity of the persons mentioned in that sub-paragraph.

(8) In this paragraph “relevant part”, in relation to a higher-risk building, has the meaning given by paragraph 8(10).

(9) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision in relation to notices under this paragraph, including in particular provision about—

(a) the form of the notice;

(b) the way in which the notice must be given.

(10) The Secretary of State may by regulations amend the list in sub-paragraph (2).

Variation or discharge of special measures order

20 (1) The tribunal may vary or discharge a special measures order relating to a higher-risk building on an application by—

(a) the regulator,

(b) an accountable person for the building, or

(c) the special measures manager for the building.

(2) An application to vary a special measures order so as to change the identity of the manager may only be made by the regulator.

(3) In considering whether to vary or discharge an order the tribunal must have regard to—

(a) the likelihood of variation or discharge of the order resulting in a recurrence of the circumstances which led to the order being made, and

(b) whether it is just and convenient in all the circumstances to vary or discharge the order.

(4) Sub-paragraphs (2) and (3) do not apply on an application where each person mentioned in sub-paragraph (1) agrees to the application (and for this purpose where there is more than one accountable person each accountable person must agree).

(5) Sub-paragraph (4) does not require the agreement of the special measures manager where that person lacks capacity to agree to the application.

(6) Where the order is varied or discharged, the tribunal may give directions to any person with respect to—

(a) any matter relating to the variation or discharge, and

(b) any incidental or ancillary matter.

(7) Where the order is discharged the tribunal must direct the special measures manager to—

(a) prepare a reconciliation account, and

(b) give a copy of the account to—

(i) the regulator, and

(ii) each accountable person for the building.

(8) The tribunal may give a direction under sub-paragraph (6)(a) (at the time the order is discharged or after that time) for the making of a payment—

(a) by an accountable person for the building to the special measures manager, or

(b) by the special measures manager to an accountable person for the building.

(9) In this paragraph—

“reconciliation account” means a document—

(a) setting out, in relation to the period during which the special measures order was in force, a comparison between—

(b) containing a statement explaining any differences;

“relevant account” means an account in which any of the following are (or have been) held—

(a) payments made by an accountable person for the building to the manager;

(b) amounts received by the manager by way of building safety charges or commonhold building safety assessments in relation to the building.

(10) In this paragraph “special measures manager”, in relation to a higher-risk building, includes the person who was the special measures manager for that building immediately before the special measures order relating to the building was discharged.

Notifications about special measures order

21 (1) The regulator must take all reasonable steps to notify the persons mentioned in sub-paragraph (3) of the making of a special measures order in relation to a higher-risk building.

(2) The regulator must take all reasonable steps to notify the persons mentioned in sub-paragraph (3) (other than the person mentioned in sub-paragraph (3)(b)) of the variation or discharge of a special measures order in relation to a higher-risk building.

(3) The persons are—

(a) each accountable person for the building,

(b) any building safety manager for the building immediately before the special measures order was made,

(a) each resident of the building who is aged 16 or over,

(b) each owner of a residential unit in the building,

(c) any managing agent for the building or any relevant part of the building,

(d) any recognised tenants’ association for the building or any part of the building,

(e) any manager appointed under section 24 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 in relation to the building or any part of the building,

(f) the fire and rescue authority for the area in which the building is situated,

(g) the local housing authority for the area in which the building is situated,

(h) where any accountable person for the building is a registered provider of social housing, the Regulator of Social Housing, and

(i) where any part of the building contains premises occupied for the purposes of a business, each responsible person (within the meaning of article 3 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005) in relation to those premises.

(4) In this paragraph “relevant part”, in relation to a higher-risk building, has the meaning given by paragraph 8(10).

(5) The Secretary of State may by regulations amend the list in sub-paragraph (3).

Special measures order: change in accountable person etc

22 (1) Sub-paragraphs (2) and (3) apply where at any time (“the relevant time”) during which a special measures order relating to a higher-risk building is in force, an accountable person for the building (“the outgoing person”) ceases to be responsible for all or any part of the building (“the relevant part of the building”).

(2) From the relevant time the special measures order ceases to apply to the outgoing person in relation to the relevant part of the building.

(3) From the relevant time the special measures order applies to any person who, immediately after the relevant time—

(a) is an accountable person for the building, and

(b) is responsible for the relevant part of the building or any part of the relevant part, as it applied to the outgoing person in relation to the relevant part or part of the relevant part (as the case may be) immediately before the relevant time.

(4) But sub-paragraphs (2) and (3) do not affect any liability under the order to which the outgoing person became subject before the relevant time.

(5) Where an enactment requires interests, charges or other obligations affecting land to be registered, sub-paragraph (3) has effect whether or not the special measures order is registered.

(6) Nothing in this paragraph affects the powers of the tribunal under paragraph 20 (power to vary special measures order etc).

Interpretation

23 In this Schedule—

“building safety charge” has the meaning given by paragraph 9;

“commonhold building safety assessment” has the meaning given by paragraph 10;

“local housing authority” has the meaning given by section 261 of the Housing Act 2004;

“managing agent”: for the purposes of this Schedule a person (A) is a managing agent for any part of a building if—

(a) A has been appointed to discharge the obligations of a person (B) relating to the management by B of that part of the building, and

(b) B has a legal estate in that part of the building which is—

“recognised tenants’ association” has the meaning given by section 29 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985;

“relevant expenses” has the meaning given by paragraph 9;

“special measures manager” has the meaning given by paragraph 7;

“special measures order” has the meaning given by paragraph 7.”—(Christopher Pincher.)

This new schedule makes provision for, and in connection with, the making of special measures orders in relation to higher-risk buildings. The new Schedule is intended to replace clauses 104 to 113 and be inserted after Schedule 6.

Brought up, and added to the Bill.

Schedule 7

Building safety charges