As the UK housing secretary announced plans to allow homeowners 15 years to challenge ‘shoddy’ workmanship, Jonathan Frankel, litigation partner at Cavendish Legal Group, has explained how the plan might ‘prolong leaseholders’ pain further’. He argued that funding legal action would better benefit leaseholders than the proposed plan, which has reportedly been suggested in light of the ongoing Grenfell Tower inquiry.
Jonathan said: “Extending the limitation period from six to 15 years will be beneficial for some leaseholders, particularly those who feel they are able to challenge the landlord. However, it’s not necessarily the case that it would ‘put new cards in the hands of the leaseholder’ as Robert Jenrick says. It simply delays the period of limitation to allow them to bring legal challenges. As such, issues of representation and funding for any legal action and subsequent repairs will continue to be the major obstacle for most leaseholders.
“Politically, this feels like the government is simply kicking the can down the road, which will actually prolong the pain for leaseholders further. In my view there is no benefit to extending the limitation period without helping leaseholders fund potential legal actions. That’s the change we want to see.
“But for those who will seek legal action against building firms, it’s imperative that they have expert advice on their side. At CLG, we have a specialist property litigation department for that reason. We can advise leaseholders in respect of what options they have, and what financial recovery they could benefit from if legal action is pursued.”