Hope At Last For Private Landlords Owning Cladding Leaseholds
Landlords who own cladding leaseholds in low and medium-rise blocks and are seriously affected by the cladding scandal, may have at last have some positive news that may ease their plight.
Ever since the Grenfell Tower tragedy there have been general misperceptions concerning the need for the infamous EWS1 cladding forms which specify “no systemic risk of fire in these blocks of flats”.
Because of this many thousands of landlords are not able to re-mortgage or sell their properties, as well as cases of being unable to let them out because of understandable fears about the safety of many blocks.
However Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has recently announced that any cladding leaseholds in blocks of flats must be fully supported to re-mortgage, buy or sell their homes. This was after a deal had been arranged with the biggest lenders to start the process in scrapping the need for EWS1 forms.
This all came about after the government received expert advice that stated buildings below 18 metres should not be subject to the forms.
The group of the major lenders has pledged to evaluate their practices after being made aware of the new advice and includes HSBC, UK, Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group amongst others, have agreed that the report and the new government statement will kickstart the process of making EWS1 forms no longer necessary for buildings 18 metres and below.
The government is now contacting other lenders “to demonstrate leadership by working rapidly to update guidance and policies in line with the expert advice.”
A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s statement says that danger to inhabitants in blocks of flats is still very low.
Jenrick says: “[This] announcement is a significant step forward for cladding leaseholds 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 the rest of the market to show leadership and endorse this proportionate, evidence based, safety approach.”