Building safety and government advice

The safety of our customers is our priority. In this section you can find out more about our building safety programme, the government's response to Grenfell Tower, EWS1 forms and some of the issues that have come about as an indirect result, particularly those affecting leaseholders and people wishing to purchase flats.

We are aware of the Building Safety Bill, which has recently been introduced in the House of Commons, and of resultant media speculation about the implications. We are monitoring the progress of the Bill with interest, and will ensure that our work with residents is adherent to any new legislation. It is important to note that this Bill has not yet passed through the required legislative process and is not yet law. The Act is unlikely to receive Royal Assent and become law until 2023 at the earliest.

You may have seen that there was also been a written ministerial statement on 21 July regarding EWS1 forms. Please note this is separate from the Building Safety Bill. In summary, seven major UK lenders have now agreed that they will not require EWS1 forms for buildings under 18metres. However, this does not necessarily mean that all buildings under 18metres can be considered ‘safe.’ The industry will need time to consider the implications of this change in policy and it may be several months before we start seeing whether it is effective. Again, we will monitor this situation and let residents know of any implications.

On 29 April 2021, the government’s Fire Safety Bill became law. The passing of this bill means that building owners or managers of multi-occupied residential buildings must conduct a fire risk assessment for each building and take steps to reduce the risk of fire spreading. Southern Housing Group already has an up-to-date Fire Risk Assessment for each of our buildings.

As a responsible landlord, we have an ongoing programme in place to check our buildings and carry out any work required to ensure that our buildings comply with the government guidance. We are making applications to the Government’s Building Safety Fund for all eligible buildings. This fund is intended to cover the costs of works related to fixing defects in the external wall system. Read more

 

Background1

Background

More info, the government's response and our response

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BS Programme

Building safety programme

We have a programme to inspect and work on affected buildings

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Background

Active projects

The current active buildings in the programme

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Under 18

Buildings under 18 metres tall

Low-rise buildings have different requirements

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Over 18

Buildings over 18 metres

The work required for tall buildings (over 18 metres, or about 7 storeys tall) is different from shorter buildings

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Leaseholder Information

Leaseholder information

Some leaseholders may find it hard to sell, re-mortgage or staircase their home due to lender requirements

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Faqs

Frequently asked questions

Please take a look at our FAQs if you still have questions

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Resource

Resource centre

A range of external resources relevant to our building safety commitment

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However, other defects and remediation for buildings under 18 metres high (or six storeys, whichever is reached first) is not covered by this fund and the bill passed earlier this week did not include measures to prevent these costs from being passed on to leaseholders. We recognise that many of you are disappointed with this news and we share your frustration. We are doing all we can to protect leaseholders from picking up the costs of repair and remediation. We will exhaust every possible avenue available to us, including seeking to recover costs from the original developers.

Together with our colleagues at the G15, a group of the largest housing associations in London, we are calling on the government to do more to protect leaseholders from these costs. Although we welcome some of the government’s proposed measures, such as a new tax on developers and a cap on remediation costs for buildings under 18m (or six storeys) at £50 per month, this does not go far enough to fund all of the remedial work that is required.

As a registered charity, we reinvest all our profit back into the Group to help build new homes and improve our communities. In the absence of further government support, we may have to take the difficult decision to recoup some costs from leaseholders – in line with legal obligations in their lease. In the meantime, we will continue to make the case to the government that leaseholders should not have to pay to fix problems that they did not cause.

We will continue to keep you updated of any further developments of this issue. If you are in hardship, please speak to us. We want to support our residents and recognise that this is a stressful time for many. There may be options that we can discuss with you that can help.

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