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CLADDING: Leaseholders still facing mortgage problems despite official promise

apartments cladding mortgages

Nearly a quarter of mortgages on mid-rise flats required an ESW1 form this year, despite government promises three years ago that leaseholders in these blocks affected by the cladding scandal would no longer need one when selling or remortgaging.

The latest UK data from the department of housing, provided by six mortgage lenders, shows that between January and March they made 44,000 mortgage valuations for flats, with EWS1 forms required in ten percent of cases. However, flats in mid-rise buildings (five to six storeys) needed a form in 23% of valuations, a fall from 25% in the previous quarter.

The EWS process allows a building owner to confirm that an external wall system has been assessed for safety by a suitable expert, before signing an EWS1 form, which is valid for the entire building for five years.

A commission tasked with looking at medium and lower-rise apartment blocks reported that there was ‘no systemic risk of fire in these blocks of flats’ in 2021, supposedly unlocking thousands of leaseholders who had been unable to sell or re-finance their properties. In April, former housing minister Lee Rowley said the government did not support the form’s use in the mortgage process.


The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors tells LandlordZONE that the decision to request a form is a combination of prevailing RICS guidance and individual lender policy which will ultimately take priority.

A spokesman says: “While an EWS1 form was required in 23% of cases, it does not necessarily mean lending did not proceed in each and every case where an EWS1 form was requested.

An EWS1 form is likely to form part of the wider due diligence from a lender. A decision to lend is based on a whole host of criteria, many related to the applicant, not just the property itself.”

An expert working group is currently considering the 2021 guidance to ensure the criteria around when to request an EWS1 form remains valid.


Cladding scandal
Ews1 forms