Government steps in to help homeowners caught up in ‘EWS1’ process

Government steps in to help homeowners caught up in ‘EWS1’ process

Owners of flats in buildings without cladding will no longer need an EWS1 form to sell or re-mortgage their property.

Owners of flats in buildings without cladding will no longer need an EWS1 form to sell or re-mortgage their property – thanks to an agreement reached today (21 November) between the Government and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), UK Finance and the Building Societies Association (BSA).

This is part of a wider government-led solution to support those homeowners who have unsafe cladding on their buildings and where there is still more to do.

Developed by industry to assess the potential financial impact of cladding on high-rise flats, an external wall fire review process – commonly referred to as ‘EWS1’ – is being applied to other buildings without cladding. This is stopping some people from selling or moving home and causing unnecessary anxiety for homeowners.

Mr Jenrick and RICS have agreed that buildings without cladding do not need an EWS1 form, clearing the way for up to nearly 450,000 flat owners to sell, move or remortgage their homes.

While building owners are already legally required to undertake fire risk assessments on all blocks of flats, following supplementary guidance published by the Government today, RICS will be working with lenders, valuers and fire safety bodies to develop new advice for surveyors. This will enable surveyors to take a more proportionate approach and reduce the number of buildings where an EWS1 assessment is needed.

Further, the Government has announced nearly £700,000  to train  more assessors, speeding up the valuation process for homeowners in cases where an EWS1 form is required. This training will be delivered by RICS from January and will  mean up to 200 additional  assessors will be qualified to carry out the EWS1 assessment within a month, 900 within three months, and 2,000 within six months.

Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

The Government is also exploring ways to address ongoing concerns around the availability of professional indemnity insurance and welcomes industry’s progress on developing a portal where lenders, valuers and leaseholders will be able to find out if their building already has an existing EWS1, thereby reducing the demand for duplicate forms.