Landlords who own leasehold properties in low and medium-rise apartment blocks affected by the cladding scandal will no longer have to supply an EWS1 form when selling or remortgaging their properties, the government has announced.
Thousands of landlords who have been unable to sell or re-finance their properties following the Grenfell tragedy will now be unlocked after an official report commissioned by the housing secretary Robert Jenrick tasked with looking at medium and lower-rise apartment blocks reported that there is ‘no systemic risk of fire in these blocks of flats’.
Jenrick says he is now working with lenders to ensure they don’t require the controversial EWS1 cladding forms when dealing with leaseholders wishing to sell or re-mortgage their properties.
Landlords seeking to sell up will also have a larger pool of buyers interested in their properties as the new rules will apply to those buying flats in these blocks too.
“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,” says Jenrick.
“While we are strengthening the overall regulatory system, leaseholders cannot remain stuck in homes they cannot sell because of excessive industry caution, nor should they feel that they are living in homes that are unsafe, when the evidence demonstrates otherwise.”
Three key high street lenders have already signed up to stop requiring EWS1 forms including HSBC, Barclays and Lloyds with others expected to follow.
But property management giant Ringley has warned that, although this is the ‘right decision’, many leaseholders have spent huge sums paying surveyors to produce the EWS1 forms they were told were needed.
“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,” says MD Mary-Anne Bowring.