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Government Guidance changes for EWS1

A recent change in Government guidance on building safety is set to unlock thousands of Leaseholders and Shared Owners, currently unable to sell or re-mortgage their homes without a building safety certification (EWS1).

In July 2021, Government guidance changed, so that many apartment blocks below 18 metres in height no longer require an EWS1 form. An EWS1 is a building safety certification that most mortgage providers insist upon before they will lend on a flat or apartment.

Up until the announcement in July 2021, Government guidance stated that all flats/apartments, irrespective of height be inspected and an EWS1 provided to satisfy lenders on the building safety. Due to the complexity of securing an EWS1 certification, as well as the blanket approach applied by many high street lenders, irrespective of height or construction ā€“ the requirement for an EWS1 has meant thousands of Leaseholders and Shared Owners across the UK, including some Stonewater customers, have been unable to sell, re-mortgage or staircase.

Under the new Government guidance, buildings under 18-metres, that do not have combustible materials in their walls no longer need an EWS1 form. While this guidance filters through, lenders may still request or insist upon an EWS1 outside of the above criteria, and Stonewater are committed to providing as much information as possible to all of our Leaseholders and Shared Owners to contest lenders request for an EWS1 where they are not required.

This change in Government guidance does not have any implications on the safety of our blocks or the risk to our residents. All Stonewater blocks are inspected as part of the Fire Risk Assessments. Stonewater welcome this change in Government guidance and hope that this guidance is accepted and adopted by high street lenders, to remove the barriers currently in place for customers trying to sell, re-mortgage or staircase.

If you have previously been asked to provide an EWS1 form to sell, re-mortgage or staircase, you may not need one now, but this remains the lendersā€™ decision and Stonewater will support you wherever we can to challenge this where applicable. If your lender is still insisting on an EWS1 form and you do not believe your building qualifies, please ask your lender to confirm the specific concern they believe an EWS1 is required. Stonewater will then support you where possible to satisfy this concern or advise accordingly.

For further information on the recent changes, please visit: Major intervention from government and lenders to support leaseholders - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)