L&Q tells over 9,000 residents they do not need EWS1 checks
Thanks to changes in Government guidance on building safety certification, L&Q were recently able to inform over 9,000 households that they should not require certification to sell or buy their home if they wish to.
Following a change in government guidance in July 2021, many apartment blocks that are below 18 metres tall no longer require an EWS1 form (the building safety certification demanded by most mortgage providers before they will lend on a property in an apartment block). L&Q has written to 9,362 residents to inform them of this change, which may allow them to secure a mortgage to sell or buy their property.
When the EWS1 form was first introduced, government guidance required that all apartment blocks be inspected, regardless of height, and an EWS1 form secured. This led to most lenders requiring an EWS1 form before offering a mortgage. This meant that L&Q residents were left unable to remortgage, staircase or sell their property, or to buy their homes through the Right to Acquire or Right to Buy schemes.
The government guidance change stated that buildings under 18 metres tall which do not have combustible materials (materials that can catch fire) in their walls do not need an EWS1 form. This change does not put our residents at greater risk as the homes will still be inspected through their regular Fire Risk Assessments.
Of the households whose home no longer requires an EWS1 form, 1,900 are leaseholders or shared owners. This means that they can now sell their homes, if lenders follow the government advice. Similarly, over 4,000 social rent tenants could now take advantage of the Right To Acquire or Right to Buy schemes and own their own home.
Lenders may, however, choose to go against government guidance and request an EWS1 form for these properties. In this instance, L&Q will support our residents to challenge this.
L&Q is delivering one of the UK’s largest building safety inspection programmes and is on schedule to complete the inspect of almost 200 high rise buildings in September 2021, with inspection of low rise buildings due to begin in October 2021.
Gerri Scott, Group Director of Customer Services at L&Q said: “We are pleased to be able to deliver this good news to thousands of our residents. The removal of the requirement of an ESW1 form for these buildings will free up residents to move, staircase, or buy their home.
“We hope that lenders follow the government’s and RICS’ advice and recognise that an EWS1 form is not needed for these homes. However, should lenders still request the form we will support our residents in querying this with their mortgage provider.
“The adoption of these new guidelines by all is essential in order to get the housing market moving and allow residents to get on with their lives. We, as a building owner and a developer, are doing what we can to support residents and we hope that lenders will choose to do the same."