The fire at Grenfell Tower in Kensington in 2017 and the Hackitt Building a Safer Future report emphasised the need for anyone thinking of buying a flat to investigate the fire safety aspects of the flat and the building it’s part of.

It’s important to understand the risks, so you know:

  • whether the flat is a safe place to live
  • how much you might have to contribute to the costs of building works to make your flat safe
  • how straightforward it may be to sell
  • the nature of any fire safety work or other building safety work that needs to be carried out
  • how such works might affect your use of the flat (for example, if you want to work from home)

Why is it an issue now?

If you have bought a flat before, you may not have encountered this issue.

It’s only since Grenfell and the Hackitt report that there has been an increased interest in fire safety for residential buildings.

The landscape is complex and changing. New laws have been passed, such as the Fire Safety Act 2021 and the Building Safety Act 2022.

Guidance continues to change from the government and for those providing valuation information to mortgage lenders.

You may also have seen media coverage about fire safety, especially about cladding.

The impact of these changes on parts of the residential property market is significant.

Even if you can establish that the flat you’re buying is not affected, you may be part of a chain of linked transactions with someone in the chain who is affected.

Government resources

Building safety leaseholder protections: guidance for leaseholders

  • A plain English explanation of the implications of the leaseholder protections
  • These protections came into force on 28 June 2022, with new financial protections for leaseholders in buildings of 11 metres or at least five storeys with historic safety defects

Qualifying date, qualifying lease and extent

  • Sets out the extent (or location) to which the leaseholder protections apply
  • Explains what is meant by 'qualifying date' and 'qualifying lease'

Leaseholder deed of certificate template

What are my building owner's legal obligations?

  • Outlines the obligations that the leaseholder protections in the Building Safety Act 2022 place on building owners, RTM companies, resident management companies and named managers

Leasehold Protections Checker

  • Tool to check whether you will have to pay to replace cladding or to fix other safety problems with your building

Criteria for determining whether a building is a higher-risk building during the occupation phase of the new higher-risk regime

  • Sets out how you can establish if a building is a higher risk building

Developer remediation contracts

  • The government asked developers to enter into remediation contracts; by 7 December 2023, 54 developers had done so
  • Includes a list of these developers

Building safety remediation data

  • Monthly data on buildings in the Building Safety Fund, Cladding Safety Scheme, developer remediation contract and reports made by registered providers of social housing, as well as high-rise buildings with aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding systems 

Other resources

For more information, see:

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