Residents' Voice

Closes 12 Oct 2022

Opened 20 Jul 2022

Overview

This area of the consultation on implementing the new regime for occupied higher-risk buildings relates to residents' voice.

Residents and leaseholders should be safe and feel safe in their homes. We are introducing a set of specific residents’ voice requirements that will ensure all residents are informed about building safety, are engaged in discussions about how to keep their building safe (including their own responsibilities) and are empowered to challenge unsafe or unreasonable decisions. These proposals set out the detail of how secondary legislation under the residents’ voice sections (89, 91 to 94 and 96) of the Building Safety Act 2022 (the Act) will operate.

The residents’ voice proposals have been informed by residents, including through the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities’ Residents’ Voice Advisory Group and the Health and Safety Executive’s Interim Residents Panel. 7.3. Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety (the Report) found that residents did not have a strong enough voice in the management of their buildings. It found that residents often:

  • did not have the chance to offer views and participate in making decisions about the management of safety in their building;
  • lacked access to key building safety information; and,
  • struggled to get complaints addressed, even when relating to building safety.

The residents’ voice consultation areas are:

  • Providing residents with building safety information - All residents will be kept informed about the safety of their building and will receive building safety information. They will also be able to request further information from the accountable person who is responsible for the part of the building which they live in.
  • The residents’ engagement strategy - The principal accountable person must establish a residents’ engagement strategy, which promotes the participation of all residents in decisions about their building’s safety and sets out how and when residents will be consulted.
  • Complaints - The principal accountable person must establish and operate a system for the investigation of relevant complaints. Where a complainant believes their safety concerns have not been adequately resolved, they will have the right to escalate their complaint to the Building Safety Regulator.
  • Contravention notices - Residents also have a role to play in keeping their buildings safe. The Act places safety-related obligations on residents to help them to play their part. Where they fall short of their obligations, the accountable person can pursue compliance through the County Courts.

The cost of complying with requirements can be passed on to residents through the service charge. It is therefore vital that we get the balance right so these requirements reflect the needs of residents, ensuring they are safe and have their voices heard, without introducing unnecessary and costly burdens on accountable person(s). More information can be found in the economic annex to the consultation.

 
 

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