Leaseholders concerned building safety obligations would be a “disaster” if left to residents

Most leaseholders of apartment buildings do not want to take on new responsibilities for building and fire safety over fears of building neglect and conflict, research conducted by data research firm Savanta Group has found.

Government reforms on building safety introduced through the Building Safety Bill would mean include the creation of an “Accountable Person”, in charge of building safety. These responsibilities will fall to residents if freeholders are removed from the market.

The majority (70%) of leaseholders are satisfied with the current rights and responsibilities and think taking on additional responsibilities “would be a disaster.”

Scott Monaghan-Gibson, research director, Savanta Group, said: “This study engaged a large sample size of 1,000 leaseholders to assess attitudes towards potential legislative changes associated with building safety and management, and the findings were clear.

“Current satisfaction with being a leaseholder is high, and it is this lack of issue with the status quo that underpins leaseholders’ broadly negative reaction to the changes.

“Overall, this is a clear piece of research that signals concern at the negative impact the proposed changes would have to a broadly content leasehold base.”

Yesterday, the Law Commission published its report “paving the way” for a system of shared ownership and responsibility in apartment blocks by “establishing commonhold as the preferred alternative system.”

However, two thirds (67%) of residents are worried about the extra admin and neglect of building maintenance.

A further 65% foresaw personal health and safety as an issue, given many leaseholders’ “lack of awareness around certain issues and understanding of up-to-date legislation”.

Meanwhile 63% fear conflict with other residents when it comes to decision making.