Updated cladding guidance means 500,000 leaseholders will no longer need an EWS1 form

New guidance aimed at reducing the number of wall safety surveys being requested by banks and building societies on blocks of flats has been broadly welcomed.

The guidance issued by RICS aims to help lenders save time when the inspections are not needed, with most lenders expected to follow the advice.

The checks were first developed to assess the potential financial impact of cladding on high-rise flats following the Grenfell tragedy in 2017.

Initially, only those who owned flats in tall buildings with dangerous flammable cladding were affected. But since mortgage lenders started requesting fire surveys from a much wider range of sellers, hundreds of thousands of leaseholders have since been asked for EWS1 external wall safety forms when they sell or remortgage, which has led to severe delays, owed  in part to a shortage of qualified surveyors available do the checks, leaving thousands of owners in limbo.

The ‘valuation of properties in multi-storey, multi-occupancy residential buildings with cladding’ guidance was consulted on by lenders, valuers and fire safety experts for two months, and the recommendations are now set to be implemented by 5 April.

Dame Janet Paraskeva, chair of the RICS standards and regulation board, said: “This announcement is a crucial step in unlocking the market, by ensuring that only those buildings where there are risks of costly remediation as a result of safety concerns from cladding are subject to additional checks.

“The guidance is anticipated to result in a reduction in the number of EWS1 requests which will therefore allow more focus on the assessments of higher risk buildings, which should speed up the overall process while ensuring appropriate protection for lenders and purchasers.”

In a joint statement, UK Finance and the Building Societies Association (BSA) said they welcomed the final guidance and expected the number of EWS1 requests to fall as a result. But they said it would still be up to lenders to have the final say.

It states: “Government confirmation that it supports the guidance produced by RICS as an appropriate, risk-based and proportionate basis on which to proceed with valuation assessments, in line with the building safety Consolidated Advice Note published in January 2020 is a welcome and necessary step for lenders.

“We anticipate that many lenders will implement this guidance, which should see the number of EWS1 requests fall. However, this is a decision for each lender to make based on their own risk appetite.

“Those buying a flat should understand that a decision made by a valuer not to require an EWS1 inspection under the new guidance is no guarantee that fire safety remediation works will not be required in the future.”

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has welcomed the new guidance from RICS.

He said: “I welcome RICS new guidance which will mean nearly 500,000 leaseholders will no longer need an EWS1 form – helping homeowners to sell or remortgage more quickly and easily.

“We need a sensible, proportionate approach to risk and costs should only be incurred where they are absolutely necessary and less costly and intrusive mitigations can’t be put in place.”

“Backed by nearly £700,000 government funding, over 500 assessors have now started training so that where valuations are needed these can be done more quickly, speeding up the process for homeowners.”

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4 Comments

  1. paulgbar666

    All absolute twaddle.   No sensible person would buy a flat without a full EWS1 survey.   Cladding is but a minor detail in the overall scheme of things. What has been revealed by the EWS1 surveys carried out to date is the appalling construction standards which didn’t comply when first built and certainly don’t comply now with regulations. Jerry built is what these flats are. A damning indictment on the developers and builders of the past 40 years.   I wouldn’t buy a flat for a £0.01 unless I knew a FULL EWS1 survey had been carried out and proved no remediation works required.   Flat owners are deluding themselves if they believe that fixing cladding issues will restore VALUE to their flats.   It is time everyone woke up and realised that only FULL REMEDIATION OF ALL FLAT DEFECTS will restore any value to these flats. Ultimately that means Govt must pay for repairs etc and then recover from those responsible. A lot of this recovery will come from liability insurance policies.   But before this lengthy recovery process starts the flats must be fixed by Govt funding. Without an EWS1 form for every flat in the UK you have a worthless flat. That would mean worthless flats and no mortgage value.   Lenders will have mortgages on worthless properties which MUST be repaired before value may be restored. .Leaseholders can’t afford the remediation costs.   I’m one of them and have been planning for bankruptcy for a while. If I am faced with ridiculous remediation costs I simply won’t pay.   If my lender refuses to pay then the Freeholder will repossess.   The lender will come after me and I will declare bankruptcy. In about 1 year I will be discharged. If I DON’T go bankrupt my lender could pursue me for mortgage debts for 12 years. Like I’m gonna allow that to happen!!   Many other flat owners will be planning the same as me. Lenders are going to suffer billions of mortgage defaults and the costs of remediation When you have billions of mortgage defaults due to worthless flats you will have a far worse situation than occurred in the CC.   I DON’T believe lenders fully understand the s### they are in!!

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    1. paths

      Guessing you just qualified to perform EWS1 assessments?

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      1. paulgbar666

        Nope just a little LL who wouldn’t be so stupid as to buy any flat without an EWS1 form which doesn’t just cover cladding or isn’t that obvious to you!?   You must have some vested interests in flats? Me I can’t wait to get rid of mine and that is even with me making goods profits.   Flats are moneypits. Worst investment decision I ever made to buy them!!!  

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  2. jan - byers

    grre why take the risk – no im not a ews investigator

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