Today's Conveyancer Podcast

The Building Safety Act – what you need to know

In this latest episode of the Today’s Conveyancer Podcast host David Opie discusses the challenges firms face with the Building Safety Act (BSA). Liz Ramsden and Hannah Page, Senior Associate and Associate respectively at law firm Knights who have immersed themselves in all things Building Safety Act and now act on behalf of Knights in matters where the BSA applies; and have also worked with other conveyancing and property law firms to support them.

Liz and Hannah explore what the key issues are, not least of which is whether the property actually comes under the scope of the act. It is, says Liz, a hugely complex piece of legislation. Every property is different and each transaction must be taken on its own merits. It can also be difficult to establish where liability sits with regards the landlord or developer.

Hannah concurs, adding that even determining the height of the building is a critical element that conveyancers should be seeking external advise on from surveyors.It is also common for leaseholder deed of certificates and and landlord certificates to be incorrectly completed; and some lenders won’t lend on non-qualifying leases

The list of woes continues; the BSA is open to interpretation and getting it wrong could have catastrophic consequences for individuals and firms, Advice in many cases is to obtain guidance from counsel but this tends to increase costs.

What is apparent is the attitude of professional indemnity insurers toward transactions involving the BSA, which has been understandably risk-averse. Knights have actively engaged to demonstrate expertise, procedures, policies, disclaimers, enquiries and retainers which have been agreed between the firm and PI insurers to enable them to do their work on BSA. Critically, they have been clear on what they will, and will not, undertake as part of their work.

This wide ranging discussion explores the challenges presented by BSA, the interim updates which make the act more workable, and some practical advice on how firms can address BSA related issues with transactions.

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