Government announces 15 year limitation period for “shoddy workmanship” claims

Extension of limitation period for claims against property developers for unsafe cladding will lead to further breach of building regulation claims.

Housing Secretary Robert Jendrick announced that Homeowners in the UK will have a total of 15 years to challenge property developers and builders who carry out “shoddy workmanship” on their properties. The retrospective extension of the 6 year limitation period gives homeowners more time to take legal action against rogue developers.

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Why is the limitation period being extended?

The Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick said that the change has “put new cards in the hands of lease holders”. The Housing Secretary commented “it is not right that either the leaseholder or the taxpayer should pay for fire safety changes.”

The change in policy has been brought about for calls to replace Grenfell-style cladding from buildings following the tragedy.

Building Safety Bill

The extension of the limitation period through the Building Safety Bill means homeowners and residents of buildings that are unsafe to live in, for example due to unsafe cladding installed in a building when constructed, have more time in which to issue proceedings against a developer or

What is a limitation period?

The law sets out deadlines for bringing legal claims, which are referred to as limitation periods. The purpose of limitation periods is to prevent legal claims from being brought too long after the cause of action accrued. The length of the limitation period varies with different types of legal claim.

Why is limitation in litigation important?

Limitation is not something that should be ignored. Where a party has a strong case, but the limitation period has expired, the claim will be likely to fail. Even in unusual circumstances, where a party is prevented from issuing its claim in time for reasons beyond its control, the court has no discretion to extend the limitation period in this type of claim. It is, therefore, crucial that limitation issues are considered at the outset of any potential claims.

When does time start running on a claim?

Once the cause of action has accrued, the time for bringing a legal claim will start to run and the limitation period will begin. In order to stop time running before the expiration of the limitation period in relation to a particular cause of action, you would need to either issue a claim form at Court or enter into a standstill agreement with your opponent.

What happens after the limitation period expires in litigation?

If the limitation period expires before you have issued a claim form or entered into a standstill agreement, then your claim will be time-barred. This means that if you begin your legal claim after the limitation period has expired, the defendant will be able to raise limitation as a complete defence to your claim (regardless of how strong a claim it may otherwise be).

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LIMITATION ACT 1980 – WARNING

The Limitation Act 1980 sets out strict statutory deadlines within which you must bring litigation claims. Your legal rights will become irreversibly time-barred if you fail to take legal action (or defend a claim on time). Therefore, you should seek specific legal advice about your legal dispute at the very first opportunity so that you understand the time you have left. Failure to take advice or delay in taking action can be fatal to your prospects of success.