Propertymark says one lasting legacy of the Grenfell Tower tragedy is that agents letting properties in high rise blocks must engage with residents over safety issues.
The trade body’s policy and campaigns chief, Timothy Douglas, says this more collegiate approach is effectively enshrined in the new Build Safety Act, which has just been given Royal Assent and which mostly comes into effect in 2023.
Propertymark remains critical of one aspect of the Act - that it does not include portfolio landlords in the provisions off the Build Safety Fund helping to offset costs of remedial work on cladding.
However, otherwise the trade body suggests it backs most provisions of what it calls “a hugely significant piece of legislation.”
Timothy Douglas comments: “Propertymark continues to believe the legislation falls short on the UK Government’s pledge that those who did not cause this crisis would not have to pay to fix it, because there are leaseholders who will still not be eligible to access to the Building Safety Fund and that is unfair.
“A new Building Safety Regulator is at the heart of the proposals and we are pleased to see the introduction of the New Homes Ombudsman, this will help to ensure there is consistency in redress for consumers across the property sector when buying and selling homes.
“Agents buying, selling and renting property, in particular high-rise buildings, must recognise the importance of engagement with residents and the ongoing legislative focus on building and fire safety.
“Moving forward, to help complement the new building safety regime there must now be regulated sales, lettings and managing agents who are at the forefront of marketing and managing property and providing relevant information to consumers.”
The Act grants residents of high-risk buildings more ways to raise concerns about safety issues, and Propertymark says agents will have a vital role to play in keeping occupants of properties in affected buildings informed and engaged.
The body says it will continue to represent agents as the measures are implemented and will advise members on their new responsibilities and how best to meet them.