One million leaseholders trapped in unsaleable flats due to unsafe cladding

One million leaseholders trapped in unsaleable flats due to unsafe cladding

Flat owners told their homes could be unsellable for up to 10 years with unsafe cladding.

Following the Grenfell Tower fire disaster, hundreds of thousands of buildings were deemed to be unsafe due to the outside wall cladding.

In 2019, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) brought out the EWS 1 form as a way of grading the safety of tower blocks with cladding.

The grading certificate was intended for buildings over 18 metres tall with cladding, but this year Government regulations changed. Mortgage lenders now require the form for shorter buildings as well.

It is estimated that 300,000 buildings that might require an EWS1. However, there are only 300 inspectors able to carry out the in-depth surveys, creating a huge backlog.

RICS charge at least £40,000 per building for the EWS1, which seems extortionate. Another issue is that only the freeholder can apply and some have refused, even though the cost will be passed on to leaseholder, because the say it’s not a legal requirement.

Peabody, a Housing Association based in London have written to residents telling them that they think it will be 10 years before they can get all of their buildings compliant.

Sebastian O’Kelly is the chief executive of the charity Leasehold Knowledge – which supports leaseholders told LBC News that flats are “largely unsellable now, because mortgage lenders want to know that they are safe, and more sites can’t demonstrate that they are safe.”

“So you’ve got 900,000 to one million people living in blocks of flats that are higher than 18 metres which are affected by the cladding crisis.”

Even if the cladding has been removed, the flats are un-mortgageable without the EWS1.

Leaseholders have also been saddled with enormous bills running into tens of thousands of pounds to carry out work, as well as paying monthly costs to employ people to ‘watch’ the building.

Buying a leasehold property is fraught with difficulty and you should buy freehold property if you can.

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