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A Glimmer of hope..

 
Landlords directly affected by the cladding scandal – because they own units in low and medium-rise blocks – have some good news at last.

 

Since the Grenfell Tower tragedy there has been widespread confusion over the need for the now-infamous EWS1 cladding forms which indicate “no systemic risk of fire in these blocks of flats”.

As a result, thousands of landlords have been unable to sell or remortgage their properties – and in some cases have had difficulties even letting them – because of growing concern about the safety of many blocks.

But now Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced that leaseholders in blocks of flats with cladding should be supported to buy, sell or re-mortgage their homes after a deal with major lenders to pave the way to ending the need for EWS1 forms.

 

It comes following expert advice that the forms should no longer be needed on buildings below 18 metres.

A group of major high street lenders has committed to review their practices following the new advice; HSBC UK, Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group and 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.

The government now wants other lenders “to demonstrate leadership by working rapidly to update guidance and policies in line with the expert advice.”

A statement from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government says that risk to life in blocks of flats remains very low.

The number of fires in homes in England has been on a general downward trend for many years, reaching an all-time low last year when 91 per cent were in houses, bungalows, converted or low rise flats, while only nine per cent were in blocks of flats of four storeys or more.

Jenrick himself says: “[This] 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”

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, That’s why I commissioned an expert group to further examine the issue, and have already agreed with many major lenders that lower-rise buildings will no longer need an EWS1 form, and the presumption should be that these homes can be bought and sold as normal.

“We hope that this intervention will help restore balance to the market and provide reassurance for existing and aspiring homeowners alike. The government has made its position very clear and I urge 

Source:  Landlord Today July 2021