The London Borough of Hackney may be the first council to start charging £750 for an EWS1, but it is unlikely to be alone.
The charge is reported in the Hackney Citizen:
Hackney Council is set to begin charging costly fees for specialist fire safety checks to its leaseholders, after a year of carrying out recently introduced bureaucracy on residents’ behalf left its budgets “under strain”.
Thirty-three requests from residents in just a handful of months has left the Town Hall’s resident safety team with a bill of almost £39,000.
A report from the Town Hall’s director of housing services David Padfield reads: “Housing Services is unable to continue to fund the cost associated with this activity, which is putting the Resident Safety team’s budget and in turn the housing revenue account under a strain. With this in mind this report proposes arrangements to recharge leaseholders a share of costs as and when they request an EWS1 certificate.
“The requirement for the provision of EWS1 forms is likely to increase going forward and putting in place a pricing mechanism which ensures the council can continue to carry out these essential surveys is prudent.”
The EWS1 form was supposed to be the solution to a stalled market in flat sales.
As it happens, it has revealed the poor construction of countless blocks with 90% of the surveys urging building safety work.
It seems as though our hugely subsidised housebuilders not only build with predatory lease terms – doubling ground rents; admin charges; ‘fleecehold’ charges on housing estates – but they build very badly as well.