Guidance

Leaseholder and resident information on the Building Safety Fund

Information to support leaseholders and residents living in buildings in the Building Safety Fund (BSF).

Applies to England

How has the Building Safety Fund (BSF) changed in 2022?

The government is on the side of leaseholders and residents. It is committed to ensuring that people are safe and feel safe in their homes, both now and in the future.

The Building Safety Fund (BSF) was first opened in 2020 and was opened again, for new applications, on 28 July 2022. An application can be made by the organisation that has the legal obligation or right to carry out remediation work on their building. In the guidance, these applicants are referred to as ‘responsible entities’. They may be the building freeholder, head leaseholder, a management company, Right To Manage (RTM) company or social housing provider.

We have adapted the BSF to ensure high-rise buildings continue to be made safe while focussing relentlessly on making sure our approach is risk-driven, proportionate and delivered more quickly. For instance, all new applications now involve applicants providing an assessment of the risks posed by fire spread over external walls to identify what, if any work, is needed. This is called a Fire Risk Appraisal of External Walls (FRAEW) and is undertaken by competent professionals. The FRAEW uses the new PAS 9980:2022 code of practice with professionals using their expert judgement to assess risk and appropriate mitigations.

The BSF now covers works directly related to the recommendations of the FRAEW conducted on an eligible building with cladding. This could be the removal and replacement of cladding (in whole or part) or mitigations such as the installation of sprinkler systems.

We want all eligible buildings to be made safe as soon as possible. Therefore, we are giving applicants, who registered to the BSF in 2020, the following choice (where full funding has not been approved or on-site works started):

  • continue with the current BSF process; or
  • progress remediation under the new criteria, getting an FRAEW to confirm what work is necessary to make their building safe (which could involve mitigations short of the full replacement of cladding).

This approach is intended to increase the overall pace of addressing life-safety fire risk defects, minimise the disruption and inconvenience caused by works for those living in affected high-rise buildings, and simplify the process. People’s safety remains paramount.

To help leaseholders and residents better understand the application process, see our:

  • 2020 guide for applications made in 2020: where the applicant of your building has been determined as eligible and are continuing to follow the 2020 process, or
  • 2022 guide for new applications made since the BSF reopened in July 2022. This can also apply in cases where your applicant was unsuccessful with an earlier application to the BSF. It also applies to some applications made in 2020 which are not at an advanced stage, where a responsible entity decides to move to the new 2022 process.

Getting information on your building’s application

The applicant (responsible entity) should keep leaseholders and residents informed on the status of their building’s application. As a minimum, we expect them to provide regular updates at the following points in the process and at any time upon request:

  • documentation submitted
  • eligibility outcome
  • application submitted
  • project procurement
  • outcome of application
  • commencement of works
  • works completed

We will also help to ensure leaseholders and residents receive information at every stage of the process. The BSF Leaseholder and Resident Service enables people to check their building’s status in the application process; increasing transparency and helping individuals to apply pressure on the applicant if action is needed.

Access the Service

If you have not received your unique building code to access the Service directly, contact the applicant (responsible entity). You can use the following MS Word letter template.

We welcome emails from leaseholders and residents who have problems getting updates from applicants. Email the Building Safety Fund at: BSFLeaseholderEnquiries@levellingup.gov.uk

Dealing with those who fail to progress applications

Government is committed to making sure that buildings are made safe and that leaseholders are protected.

Responsible entities of buildings over 18 metres, with cladding, who do not already have clear plans to address these issues must act and get an FRAEW to PAS 9980:2022 methodology ready to submit to the Building Safety Fund (BSF).

This will ensure applications can be handled in good time, reducing disruption and stress to leaseholders and residents. They must inform and consult leaseholders and residents throughout the process.

If your building is already going through the application process but you feel that insufficient progress is being made by the applicant, please email: BSFLeaseholderEnquiries@levellingup.gov.uk

Under the Building Safety Act, from July 2022, responsible authorities have legal powers to compel freeholders to remediate their buildings through Remediation Orders and cover the cost through Remediation Contribution Orders. Responsible authorities are those who can apply to the Tribunal for these orders, for example:

  • the Secretary of State
  • the building safety regulator
  • local authorities
  • fire and rescue authorities, and
  • (for Remediation Consent Orders only) a special measures manager.

To ensure that those who are liable to pay under leaseholder protections actually do so, the Building Safety Act 2022 includes what are called anti-avoidance and enforcement provisions. You can find out more in this step-by-step guide.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has also set up a dedicated Recovery Strategy Unit to pursue companies and individuals that fail to do the right thing.

Stronger measures in the Act include:

  • new powers for the Secretary of State to restrict irresponsible developers’ ability to build new homes
  • expanding the scope of the Building Safety Levy so it can be charged on any new development requiring building control approval
  • improving building owners’ rights to launch legal action against developers

Who pays for the remediation of cladding on high-rise buildings?

In June 2022, the Secretary of State wrote to freeholders and made clear that the days of leaseholders being faced with large invoices for building safety repairs are over.

The letter reminds freeholders that qualifying leaseholders now have protections, in law, from costs; and that they will be acting illegally if they attempt to circumvent them. These protections include qualifying leaseholders not paying anything to remove dangerous cladding.

You are a qualifying leaseholder if your property is in a building above 11 metres (or 5 storeys) and on 14 February 2022:

  • your property was your main home, or
  • you owned no more than three UK residential properties in total.

The amount you can be asked to contribute to fixing other historical building safety defects is firmly capped. Visit the leaseholder protections page for more information.

To help you understand your rights and whether you qualify for the protections, the government has produced a new Leaseholder Protections Checker and detailed guidance. The Checker will use information from leaseholders to work out the maximum amount they may be charged under the new protections in the Building Safety Act.

Where the protections appy, leaseholders need to complete and submit a leaseholder Deed of Certificate to their building owner who will confirm if they have to pay any money or not.

How is government helping leaseholders and residents with issues with getting mortgages and insurance?

Government has taken action on resolving lending challenges that prevent many leaseholders in flats from selling and moving on. On 15 July 2022, UK Finance, the Buildings Societies Association (BSA) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) issued a joint statement. It clarified how mortgage lending on properties impacted by building safety issues will be able to change as a result of the Building Safety Act 2022 and, specifically, the subsequent leaseholder protections.

The six largest mortgage lenders: Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, NatWest and Santander have confirmed that they will now lend on buildings that:

  • will be remediated by the developers that built them or are in a government-funded remediation scheme, or
  • where leaseholders are covered by the new leaseholder protections.

This is a significant step forward and will enable thousands of leaseholders in homes with fire-safety issues to move on with their lives.

What is the Developer’s Pledge?

48 of the UK’s biggest house builders have pledged to do the right thing and agreed to:

  • take responsibility for all necessary work to address life-safety fire risk defects on buildings 11 metres and over that they had a role in developing or refurbishing, and
  • take over responsibility for works on any such buildings which have applied to the Building Safety Fund (BSF) and Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) Fund, including reimbursing funding paid from those Funds for such buildings.

Where developers do take over responsibility for works on buildings already in the BSF process, they are required to:

  • ensure that they take forward full cladding remediation or all works recommended by a FRAEW, carried out according to PAS 9980:2022 methodology;
  • ensure all costs incurred by applicants and leaseholders in developing the remediation project are reimbursed; and
  • for projects which have completed a tender, ensure they meet the current estimated completion dates for works under the BSF.

Where developers allow works to continue under the Building Safety Fund, they will need to reimburse the Department once works have been completed. This will be the case where:

  • funding has already been agreed within the BSF and a contract signed; and
  • (in some cases) where funding has been agreed but the contract has yet to be signed.

We expect the applicant to keep you fully informed on whether your building’s application will proceed under the Fund or not.

If your building’s developer is taking over responsibility but you are unsure who your developer is, or the applicant has not contacted you, email: BSFLeaseholderEnquiries@levellingup.gov.uk

You can find more information, including a list of developers who have signed the pledge on our ‘Developer’s Pledge’ web page.

Independent information and support

To help you understand some of the words and terms used in the Building Safety Fund please see our glossary.

If you are a leaseholder or resident concerned about unsafe cladding in your building, you can get free initial specialist advice about your rights from the Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE).

More information about LEASE, including how to contact them, is on their website, along with the latest frequently asked questions on the Building Safety Fund

Published 11 March 2022
Last updated 28 July 2022 + show all updates
  1. Updated to reflect the reopening of the Building Safety Fund on 28 July 2022.

  2. Guidance updated to reflect new leaseholder protections coming into force.

  3. First published.