The 14 February 2022 - A day to remember…..for building safety reasons.

Valentine’s Day 2022 is the day which the Building Safety Act decrees is the date to be used to ascertain if a lease is a “qualifying lease” (see blogs by Kate Rushworth  and Lauren Michaelides as to what are qualifying leases and what that means for both landlords and leaseholders). The 14 February 2022 is known in the Act as  “the qualifying time”.

A leaseholder with a  qualifying lease does not have to pay for any cladding remedial works and may also be exempt from, or have a limited liability for, building safety risk works (See Lauren’s blog as to what this covers).

The key points to  determine whether a lease is a “qualifying lease” are set out in Kate’s blog (Qualifying leases (Part1) – what are they and what do they mean in terms of cladding remedial works?),

Two key requirements are that, as of 14 February 2022, (i) the dwelling is the leaseholder’s principal or only home; and (ii) they own no more than two other dwellings in the UK.

This Valentine’s Day is going to continue to be an important date in the building safety calendar but, as Valentine's Day 2022 moves further into the past, it could throw up all sorts of issues. For instance, in the past year the tenant might have sold their interest in the dwelling to someone who owns many more than 3 dwellings in the UK, or the tenant themselves might have acquired a portfolio of residential properties since “the qualifying time”.  As things stand, they would still hold a qualifying lease.

It will be interesting to see how this pans out, especially in the light of the government’s announcement that developers have 6 weeks from the end of January to sign contracts to fix ‘life critical’ fire safety defects or face being banned from undertaking developments.

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