EWS1 Certificate are no longer needed in some cases
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has revealed that homes without cladding would no longer need an ESW1 external wall safety certificate.
The safety measures were introduced as a result of the Grenfell tower disaster, following the death of 72 people.
Previously people have been refused mortgage on flats because owners have been unable to have the surveys conducted to ensure they can produce the certificate.
When the safety measures were implemented, they were originally only meant for flats in tall buildings who used dangerous flammable cladding. However, in January 2020, the government extended this to smaller properties, resulting in mortgage lenders asking for the certificate from more sellers.
There are thought to be less than 300 surveyors, resulting in sellers being unable to secure the survey making it hard for them to sell or remortgage their property.
Mr Jenrick announced he had “secured agreement” that the survey would not be needed for homes without cladding. He added:
“Through no fault of their own, some flat owners have been unable to sell or remortgage their homes and this cannot be allowed to continue.”
Following the announcement, mortgage lenders voiced that they in actual fact haven’t consented to the changes.
The housing secretary said the decision to ease checks for blocks without cladding would help almost 450,000 homeowners who “may have felt stuck in limbo”.
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors said it had agreed the announcement that buildings without cladding did not need the EWS1 assessments, but it added that it would still need to review the government advice before deciding what guidance to issue to surveyors.
Sean Tompkins, Chief Executive of RICS, said there had been an “acute market shortage of fire engineers” to carry out the checks. He said:
“We are aware of the severe impact this has had on some homeowners and we agree that buildings without cladding should not be subject to the process.”
Mr Jenrick also said the government was paying to train 2,000 more assessors within six months to speed up checks on blocks which did have cladding.
But some cladding experts questioned whether the £700,000 in government funding would be enough.