Scores of landlords could have to wait years before selling their properties or applying for a new mortgage due to long delays in giving cladded flats the safety sign-off.

Since the Government launched EWS1 forms in January to confirm that insulation, balconies and structure are safe, mortgage lenders won’t rely on a building regulations sign-off.

Although the forms were envisaged only for buildings above 18 metres, they’re now routinely demanded by mortgage lenders on lower rise blocks as well, according to a Times report.

But leaseholders face long delays to get the checks as only 291 fire engineers are qualified to inspect buildings. Peabody housing association has told one desperate seller of a flat in a low-rise block that it might take 10 years before an EWS1 survey is carried out.

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The Government has now said that it doesn’t support the blanket use of EWS1 forms and is encouraging lenders to accept other forms of assessment in relation to external walls.

Sale fall through

A survey by the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership found three-quarters of 663 leaseholders who wanted to sell in the past year had a sale fall through or did not even try because the block had no EWS1.

It believes up to 1.5 million modern flats, 6% of England’s homes, could be un-mortgageable because they can’t prove their walls are safe.

And it says that of the 2.8 million flats that need an EWS1 survey before they can be sold, many won’t be sellable when they do finally get one; its results show that 90% of the cladding sites that have had a EWS1 survey require remediation – with leaseholders being forced to foot the bill.

Flat-owners must pay for repairs under leasehold law; where blocks under 18 metres are unsafe, repairs fall outside the Government cladding fund in England, while Scotland and Wales don’t have a cladding fund at all.

Read the Times report in full.

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