Owners of apartments whose buildings are clad in flammable material will have up to twelve years to sue for compensation for a limited time if new legislation being introduced into Parliament becomes law.
Introduced into Parliament on Wednesday, the Cladding Safety Rectification Bill will – for a limited time – increase the time limit during which owners can claim compensation to recover the cost of combustible cladding from ten years to twelve years.
This extension applies to all claims where the claim period expired or is due to expire between the date of the Government’s announcement of the cladding rectification program – 16 July 2019 – and 12 months after the new Bill commences.
The Bill will also formally separate Cladding Safety Victoria (CSV) from the Victorian Building Authority and establish it as the responsible authority for delivering the government’s $600 million cladding rectification program.
Across Victoria, as many as 1,445 buildings have flammable cladding, according to the latest audit results issued by the Victoria Building Authority.
Of these, around two-thirds or 977 buildings are concentrated within the inner/middle Melbourne municipalities of Melbourne, Moreland, Port Phillip, Bayside, Glen Eira, Stonnington, Boroondara, Darebin, Mooney Valley, Maribyrnong and Hobsons Bay.
The latest bill follows the announcement in July last year that the government would establish a $600 million program to rectify buildings which are impacted with combustible cladding and that it would establish Cladding Safety Victoria to oversee the program.
Under the program, the government pays for rectification costs through the fund and can pursue builders through the courts in cases where an investigation finds that the builder has a case to answer.
CSV works with building owners, owners corporations and the building sector to rectify buildings and make them safe.
It also provides the community and industry with information and advice on rectification works and provides financial assistance to fund rectification works.
Funding for rectification works are prioritised based on risk, to ensure buildings which present the highest risk to occupants are rectified first.
In a statement, Planning Minister Richard Wynn said the new Bill would provide additional protections for consumers whilst establishing CSV as a stand-alone entity would ensure that it is best placed to deliver the rectification program.
“Apartment owners are in this situation through no fault of their own and it’s only right they have as much time as possible to pursue compensation through the courts,” Wynn said.
“Cladding Safety Victoria is getting on with delivering our $600 million world-first program to fix hundreds of buildings across Victoria with high risk cladding.”
“We’re leading the world in responding to this international problem and helping to ensure those who have done the wrong thing contribute to the cost of fixing their mistakes.”