The Fire Safety Bill received Royal Assent on 29 April 2021 and is now known as the Fire Safety Act 2021. The passing of this Act is bittersweet for tenants of multi-occupied residential buildings.
On the one hand, tenants can find comfort in knowing the duties of Building Owners have been widened to reduce the spread of fire. These additional duties also make it possible for Fire and Rescue Services to take additional action against those who are not complying. Furthermore the Fire Safety Act 2021 will make it easier and quicker for future legislation to be passed following any further recommendations arising from the Grenfell Inquiry.
On the other hand though, more Building Owners are starting to remove unsafe cladding from their buildings. Whilst this is a very positive step in terms of fire safety, it also means that more tenants are finding themselves being asked to fund those remedial works via service charge provisions in their leases. Unfortunately the Fire Safety Act 2021 does not include the eagerly sought after provisions preventing Building Owners from passing on the remedial work costs to tenants. This means tenants will continue to find themselves in the position whereby they are either having to pay expensive service charge demands or exploring ways to limit that liability and / or seek recovery from culpable third parties.
Colman Coyle’s Property Litigation department has and continues to act for various parties in this sector including Landlords, Tenants and Management Companies.