EWS1 reports – yet another concern for HMO owners?

by Readers Question

9:55 AM, 9th March 2020
About 3 months ago

EWS1 reports – yet another concern for HMO owners?

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EWS1 reports – yet another concern for HMO owners?

We are in the process of selling a leasehold flat, and have been asked to provide an EWS1 form which, in brief, confirms that the block is compliant with the safety regs that came into force after Grenfell. Without this, the value of the flat is essentially zero, because the lender won’t lend, because insurers won’t insure.

Until Dec last year, this only applied to buildings over 18 meters high. As of Jan this year, it now applies to, amongst other things, HMOs.

There is a big shortage of acceptable fire safety surveyors. The difficulty is compounded by an increase in PII premiums for both mortgage valuers and fire surveyors. Reportedly, it can be 6-12 months to even get a fire survey done. If the building is not compliant, then remedial work must be carried out.

So, apart from the fact that our sale may well fall through, it may well be that freeholders, and the owners of HMOs might have difficulty in obtaining block insurance at renewal, which is presumably a breach of the obligations under the lease.

Would it also effectively avoid the tenancy agreement?

Has anyone else come across this? I can’t find any central register of high rise blocks which have demonstrated compliance under the previous system (AN14). At least if we could find out whether the block was compliant under the AN14 system, we would have some hope of the new EWS1 form being filled in by the relevant surveyor.

In the meantime, yet another concern for HMO owners.

This only raised it’s ugly head this afternoon, so we have only just got our head round precisely what to request from the freeholder/managing agents.

More unintended consequences, methinks.

Helen



Comments

Neil Patterson

9:58 AM, 9th March 2020
About 3 months ago

Helen Morley

14:02 PM, 9th March 2020
About 3 months ago

https://www.devonshires.com/publications/ews1-external-wal

Please see comments re proposals to extend the requirements to ALL multi- residential buildings. It's close to the beginning of the government document that's linked to the above, in the Jan 2020 update.

Trish

11:57 AM, 23rd May 2020
About A week ago

I'm having this problem too. The valuer for the mortgage company is reluctant to recommend that they lend to me even though the flat is in a building less than 18 m high, has no cladding, no combustible materials in the construction of external walls, and the builder -Taylor Wimpey - emailed the estate agent to say that, because of this, it does not need EWS certification. The government document AN14 - Jan 2020 - suggests that the requirement will apply to all blocks of flats/residential buildings in the future but doesn't now. So, even if I can get a mortgage now, maybe the lack of certification is likely to negatively affect the value of the property in the future? I'd be interested to hear what other landlords think.


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