Thousands of leaseholders’ lives are on hold because of the lack of a cladding survey at their sites.
Many of these are below 18 metres high – the government definition of a high-rise – and have no cladding of any sort. Nonetheless, mortgage lenders are demanding an EWS certificate before issuing loans.
LKP is aware of numerous cases where leaseholders’ sales have fallen through, and the issue is also impacting on anyone needing to re-mortgage.
It was in December 2019 that RICS launched its External Wall Survey system to help move away from the zero valuation problem. This arose following government building safety advice and, in a particular, something know as Advice Note 14, which required building owners to verify the safety of their external wall systems. This advice was intended for buildings of over 18 meters in height.
Unfortunately the government then issued an updated “consolidated advice” in January 2020.
Again this advice was mainly focused on buildings of over 18 meters, but in the document talks about issues applying to buildings “at any height”.
As a result, a growing number of lenders have taken to demanding EWS reports on buildings below 18 meters and even on brick-faced buildings that appear to have little or no cladding material.
There are now a limited number of people qualified and willing to carry out EWS surveys and there are many building owners who are declining to pay for these surveys or advising of long delay.