Leaseholders to get access to free legal advice

The Welsh Government has launched a new scheme to help support leaseholders in medium and high-rise buildings affected by fire safety issues in Wales. Launched on 10 May 2024, the scheme offers free and bespoke legal advice to help resolve potential disputes.

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Acknowledging the complexity of leasehold law, Julie James, MS, Cabinet Secretary for Housing, Local Government and Planning, promised to deliver the advice service when she announced plans to enable remediation of all buildings over 11 metres in Wales in December 2023.

Help to steer through legal difficulties

Leaseholders, or responsible persons on behalf of leaseholders, can access the scheme through the Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE).

An advisor will review the situation, assess if legal support is appropriate and then advise on how to proceed. Where appropriate, LEASE will then act as a referral service to a dedicated legal services provider whose initial advice will be paid for by the Welsh Government.

James stated that the Welsh Government is committed to addressing barriers that prevent works being undertaken. Leaseholders are not expected to bear the cost of repairing fire safety issues that are not of their own making, and developers must step up to their responsibilities.

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Tighter controls on building  supervision

In Wales, the regulation of new high-risk buildings now involves a class system for registered building inspectors. This system ensures that only individuals with the relevant skills, knowledge, and experience are advising decision-makers.

Specifically, the Welsh Government has restricted the oversight of new high-risk buildings to local authority building control from April 2024. This move aligns with recommendations from the Hackitt report, emphasising the importance of robust oversight in ensuring building safety.

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