Building owners face jail time for harassing tenants with siding bills

Building owners who continue to bill tenants for property sanitation could face up to 10 years in prison, the government has warned.

In a letter reminding landowners, building owners and managing agents of a new law that will come into force tomorrow, the Secretary of State for Leveling, Michael Gove, confirmed that owners will be financially responsible, in law , remediation of security flaws in historic buildings. .

He added that the ultimate owners of the buildings “can no longer hide behind shell companies: they must take responsibility for the dangerous buildings they own”.

Previously, the law allowed for the full cost of remediation of residential buildings to be passed on to tenants. Gove said the outlay, which sometimes costs thousands of pounds, “would bankrupt families and leave tenants facing financial ruin”.

He wrote: “Those days are now over and the law means eligible tenants can happily dispose of these bills.”

The law, under the Building Safety Bill, states that building owners must now draw on their own capital, the building safety fund, or industry tax contributions to pay the construction to secure residential buildings.

The protections apply to tenants in buildings of 11 meters or five stories or more.

Gove expressed concern that some officers were still sending tenants bills and warned the law’s protections would apply retrospectively.

He added: “It is important to be clear – from tomorrow anyone who chooses to breach legal protections will be committing a criminal offence. Those involved in such criminal activities could face up to 10 years in prison, in addition to the consequences for their businesses. Criminal exploitation of leaseholders will be treated with the utmost seriousness.

Mid-sized funds

Gove said “responsible” building owners will have already made plans before the law comes into force. He also said that where a building owner’s developer has not committed to repairing properties, applications could be submitted to the Buildings Safety Fund which is due to reopen or they could apply for the medium-sized fund, which will be launched soon.

“Competent authorities have the power to compel responsible entities to fund and undertake this work. I hope it will not be necessary to do this, but I must be clear that if I am not satisfied, I will act to protect the tenants, ”he added.

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