Three of the North East’s biggest housebuilders have signed a developer remediation contract described by the government as a major step towards ending the building safety scandal.
Barratt Developments, Bellway and Miller Homes are listed by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) as among 39 housebuilders, including the ten biggest in the UK, as having signed a legally binding document before yesterday’s deadline and irreversibly committing themselves to fix unsafe buildings they developed or refurbished.
The DLUHC said the signatories represented a substantial proportion of the housing market, and the signed agreements would raise at least £2bn for remediation costs.
According to the Department:
“This will come as a welcome relief for the thousands of innocent leaseholders and tenants whose homes are covered by the contract. Developers will be legally bound to pay to fix their unsafe buildings and eligible developers who fail to sign will not be able to operate freely in the housing market.”
Doing the right thing
Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, said:
“I have been clear all along – those that are responsible for this crisis must pay. So, I am grateful to those developers who have done the right thing today by signing this legally binding contract. We will be monitoring their progress on remediation very closely, to ensure this work is completed urgently and safely.
“For those developers that have taken responsibility, today offers the chance for a reset, so we can get on and build more of the safe, decent and affordable homes we so desperately need.
“To those developers that have failed to sign the contract without good reason, let me be very clear – we are coming after you. If you do not sign, you will not be able to operate freely in the housing market. Your investors will see that your business model is broken – only responsible developers are welcome here.
“But today should not be about developers, or about government. Today is about innocent leaseholders. I want to put on record my apology to all leaseholders for the years of misery and hardship you have endured. You should never have been ignored, asked to pay and let down.
“Today marks a turning point – and an important step towards resolving this crisis. There is so much more to do, but I will always act to protect leaseholders and end this injustice.”
The DLUHC said signatories were required to fix all life-critical fire-safety defects in all English buildings over 11 metres they had a role in developing or refurbishing. It also required them to reimburse the taxpayer where government funds had already paid for remediation, with that money being used to make other buildings safe faster.
For developers who had signed, their obligations started immediately, added the Department. Leaseholders would benefit from a common framework of rights and responsibilities that would get their buildings fixed without them having to pay, and developers would be required to inform residents in affected buildings how they would be meeting these commitments.
The government will publish further information next week on how developers will be prohibited from carrying out major development or from receiving building control approval unless they sign and adhere to the contract, using Building Safety Act 2022 powers.
A complete list of developers who have signed the contract and those who have not can be found here.