The Government has announced its intention to extend the limitation period to 15 years for homeowners in respect of claims for poor workmanship.
The Housing Secretary, Mr Jenrick, speaking to BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show (4 July 2021) stated: “I’m announcing today we are going to change the law retrospectively to give every homeowner 15 years in which to take action against the people who built their building if there is shoddy workmanship. This is a huge step forward – the law as we found it was that you only had six years to take action against the person who built your home”.
The mechanism for introducing this change is by amendment to the Defective Premises Act 1972 which introduces a new section, 2A, and an extension of the limitation period in section 1(5) of the Act to 15 years (from the current six years).
The retrospective effect of this change is achieved by amendment to section 4B of the Limitation Act 1980 which provides that section 1(5) of the DPA 1972 is treated as always having been in force.
The Building Safety Bill forms part of the package of new legislation prepared following the enquiry into the Grenfell tragedy of 2017. In relation to cladding, Mr Jenrick said “most of the cladded buildings were built in the period from 2000-17” meaning that (in his words), “not all, but the lions’ share [of homeowners] that are facing this particular issue will now be helped by this unusual change in the law”.
We will keep you updated.
If you have any queries relating to these issues, please contact Sue Ryan.