The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer to four questions on 14th July 2022:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: asked Her Majesty’s Government:
what plans they have to provide low-interest long term loans to non-qualifying buy-to-lent landlords with more than two leasehold properties who are unable to afford fire safety remedial costs.
what assessment they have made of the number of non-qualifying buy-to-let landlords with two or more leasehold properties who will go bankrupt due to being unable to afford fire safety remedial work.
what assessment they have made of the number of non-qualifying buy-to-let landlords with more than two leasehold properties who (1) are unable to sell their properties, and (2) are unable to afford the fire safety remedial work.
what assistance they plan to provide to non-qualifying buy-to-let landlords with more than two leasehold properties who (1) are unable to sell their properties, and (2) are unable to afford the fire safety remedial work.
Lord Harrington of Watford (Con): We are clear that leaseholders are no longer the first port of call to pay to fix building safety defects, we have taken action to support all leaseholders. The Building Safety Act will require that historical safety defects in any building above 11 metres or five storeys owned by the developer who built or refurbished it, or by a landlord associated with that developer, must be fixed by them. And over 45 developers have signed up to our developer pledge to fix their own buildings. This will benefit all leaseholders in the building.
In addition, leaseholders, including those with more than three properties may also benefit from government grant funding for the removal of unsafe cladding.
Where more than three properties are owned, the principal home always qualifies for the leaseholder protections, capping liability for building safety remediation costs on this property. We have also made changes to enable compensation to be sought through the civil courts for historic building safety defects from those responsible. We are, therefore, not planning to provide low-interest long term loans to non-qualifying buy-to-lent landlords.
The risk of bankruptcy is subject to personal circumstances and usually as a result of a myriad of factors. The action that the government has taken in legislation is to reduce this risk for the majority of people, regardless of their circumstances, when previously they would have faced exorbitant bills. We would hope that following the action we have taken no leaseholder, regardless of how many properties they own, will now face the risk of bankruptcy. We understand that those with multiple properties are better insulated from this risk.
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