In 2019 many mortgage providers began to make requests for evidence, certification and information about the safety of external wall systems to high rise residential buildings.
Valuers began to consider blocks without evidence of compliance with the most recent guidance as being of zero value. This meant that many leaseholders were unable to sell or re-mortgage their properties.
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors responded to this by introducing the External Wall System 1 (EWS1). Obtaining the form confirms the external wall system has been assessed as safe by a qualified professional and provides assurance to lenders, valuers, residents, buyers and sellers.
The majority of lenders now request an EWS1 form to provide mortgages for buildings over 18m, but requests for buildings under this threshold are increasing. Government issued advice in November 2020 that EWS1 forms would not be required for buildings without cladding, however in our experience lenders have yet to accept this new guidance.
An EWS2 form for buildings under 18m is also being considered.
In 2022, we endorsed the guidance for landlords on leaseholder requests for EWS1 forms, which outlines best practice for the process itself, how to communicate with residents and how to respond when EWS1 forms cannot be secured. You can read about this best practice on the dedicated webpage.