Can I sell my home with no EWS1 form?

Does your property need an EWS1 form to sell?

Georgia Cave
Marketing Manager

After the Grenfell tragedy of 2017, buildings over 18 metres across the country were subject to new testing requirements, to ensure that if cladding is used across buildings, it doesn’t allow fires to spread. This changed as of December 2021, when new legislation came in requiring any building over 11 metres or six stories to have an External Wall System survey (EWS1) completed.

All of a sudden, many homeowners felt trapped in their properties (especially leaseholders) as they were relying on freeholders to submit for the EWS1 survey. Mortgage lenders started using the form as a uniform way of calculating the risks of lending, meaning unless you had a cash buyer lined up, no one could buy your home using a mortgage without the form.

This was further amplified by the lack of qualified chartered fire engineers needed to undertake the survey.  In fact, in 2021, RICS suggested there were only 300 qualified fire surveyors in the whole UK. 

For the past four years, the requirement to have an EWS1 form has seemingly stalled a lot of property sales, especially those who live in high-rise newbuilds. Up until earlier this year, the only way around this was to sell to a cash buyer, as every mortgage lender required the EWS1 form. 

The only other way around this for homeowners was to rent out their property and live with family or friends to potentially generate more income to help with moving to a new property, however, this comes with its separate costs and inconveniences. 

However, things are starting to change. Not only are there a lot more surveyors qualifying in the EWS1 regulations, but banks are starting to address the issues with EWS1 forms and lending. 

As of 9th January 2023, Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, NatWest and Santander don’t require an EWS1 form as long as certain conditions are met. 

These conditions are as follows: 

-The developer has committed to correct any issues themselves. (Check this list of developers who have signed the government's legally binding contract. 

-The building is covered by one of the recognised government schemes (the Developer Remediation Contracts, the Medium Rise Scheme or the Building Safety Fund).

- The leaseholder is protected under the Building Safety Act and has a deed of certificate. See the government website to download a certificate and for information on how to fill it out. 

Our Hackney Area Partner Flynn has recently had discussions with three people who thought they were ‘trapped’ for potentially months whilst waiting for the EWS1 form or remedial work to be done to their property/building. 

“My potential vendors all believed they wouldn’t be able to come to market unless they were holding out for a cash buyer” he said. “They were, however, unaware of the new legislation filtering through and are now seriously considering listing their homes as the likelihood of selling is much higher than before.” 

“My advice would be if you think you’re trapped because of the EWS1 situation but you do want to sell, reach out to your local estate agent and consider the advice of surveyors, as you may be pleasantly surprised.”

If you’re looking for help with selling your property, or advice on the current market, pop in your details below. 

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