Accountable Persons

Expert Advice on Understanding Your Role & Responsibilities

The Building Safety Act 2022 (“BSA 2022”) and various secondary legislation has brought with it various new obligations for certain parties with interests in higher-risk buildings.

Accountable Persons (“APs”)

The Accountable Person for a higher-risk building under Section 72 BSA 2022 is either:

  1. A person holding legal estate in possession in any part of the common parts (“the Estate Owner”) (i.e., a Building owner, Landlord, Leaseholders owning a share of the freehold) or;
  2. A person under a relevant repairing obligation in relation to any part of the common parts (i.e., a Landlord, Leaseholders, Management Company).

A named Management Company is likely to hold repairing obligations in respect of the common parts of the building pursuant to the leases and will therefore qualify as an AP and pursuant to section 72(2) BSA 2022, , if a third party (i.e., a Management Company / RMC) are responsible for repairing all of the common parts of the building, the Estate Owner) will not be an AP.

Further, if an RTM company is in existence for the building and they hold all of the relevant repairing obligations, the Estate Owner will not be an AP.

However, as determined by the First-tier Tribunal (“FTT”) in the case of  Octagon Overseas Limited -v- Mr Sol Unsdorfer, a Tribunal appointed manager under section 24 Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 (“LTA 1987”) cannot be an AP.  This is on the basis that a manager under section 24 LTA 1987 does not meet the requirements under section 72 BSA 2022 as they do not usually hold a legal estate in possession in any part of the common parts of the building and it cannot be said that their repairing obligations are not ‘by virtue of enactment’. This is important to note in situations similar to these whereby there may be some confusion as to who is to be an AP.

Government guidance sets out the key responsibilities and duties of AP’s and this includes assessing all building safety risks at regular intervals, preventing such risks from arising by putting measures in place and reducing the severity of an incident if one happens.

If there are multiple APs for a building, all efforts should be taken to work together and share all safety information about the building.

There is no provision within the BSA 2022 which allows an AP to delegate their obligations and liabilities.

It is important for APs to comply with their obligations as where there has been a serious failure of compliance, this could lead to a Special Measures Manager having to be appointed or in criminal prosecution resulting in imprisonment or a fine.

The Principal Accountable Person (“PAP”)

Under Section 73 BSA 2022, where there is only one AP for a higher-risk building, they will also qualify as the PAP.

Where there is more than one AP (i.e., where more than one person is responsible for a different common parts of a building), the PAP is either the party who:

  1. Holds a legal estate in possession of the relevant parts of the structure and exterior of the building OR;
  2. Falls within Section 72(i)(b) BSA 2022 by being under a relevant repairing obligation in relation to the relevant parts of the structure and exterior of the building.

Only one party can be recognised as the PAP to ensure that there is a clear allocation of primary responsibility for compliance of the statutory duties and generally, this is the party who has an overall responsibility for the structure of the building.

The BSA 2022 provides that the Tribunal will have jurisdiction to determine who the PAP is. An application can be made by anyone with an interest in the building.

The additional obligations on a PAP are also set out within government guidance and includes registering existing and new higher risk buildings with the Building Safety Regulator, preparing a residents engagement strategy, and ensuing that the structural and fire safety risks are managed properly.

Understanding and awareness of Sections 72 and 73 of the BSA 2022 is crucial for landlords, developers, and their associated entities. It is important to be aware of your rights, responsibilities, and potential liabilities in light of this new legislation. Contact our Building Safety Team by completing the enquiry form opposite or emailing: