Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has announce plans to work with lenders to end the need for leaseholder in medium and lower-rise blocks to provide the much criticised EWS1 cladding forms when applying to buy, sell or remortgage their homes.
This announcement follows months of confusion about which properties do or do not need EWS1 cladding forms, which were created following the Grenfell tragedy to help lenders, valuers and surveyors assess a property’s cladding status.
The announcement by Jenrick follows new advice from fire safety experts that the government commissioned earlier in the year to investigate risk in medium and lower-rise buildings, which makes clear that there is ‘no systemic risk of fire in these blocks of flats’.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said, “Today’s announcement is a significant step forward for leaseholders in medium and lower-rise buildings who have faced difficulty in selling, anxiety at the potential cost of remediation and concern at the safety of their homes.”
This will release tens of thousands of apartments from the shadow of the cladding crisis, and help many of their owners, buyers or those remortgaging, to escape the ESW1 form ‘limbo’.
A group of major high street lenders has committed to review their practices following the new advice including HSBC, Barclays and Lloyds.
Others have said that the expert report and government statement paves the way for EWS1 forms to no longer be required for buildings below 18 metres and will help further unlock the housing market.
Mary-Anne Bowring (pictured), group MD at property management giant Ringley, says: “After years of fumbling its response to the tragic fire at Grenfell, confusing vulnerable leaseholders with overly-complicated legislation, the Government has finally made the right decision to scrap EWS1 forms for ‘at risk’ buildings below 18 metres.
“But thousands of leaseholders and other mortgage prisoners have paid the costs to secure an EWS1 certification.
“The question now is who will compensate them, and of course, what is to be done about those living in buildings 18 metres or higher.”