Hundreds of thousands of flat owners caught in cladding row can finally sell their properties 

Hundreds of thousands of flat owners caught in Grenfell cladding row can finally sell their properties

  • Some homeowners had to get an external fire wall review before selling
  • People could be waiting for months or even years for a surveyor’s assessment 
  • Government says the forms will not be needed for buildings without cladding 

With huge demand for an EWS1 – required after the tower block fire tragedy in West London that claimed 72 lives – people could be waiting for months or even years for a surveyor’s assessment

Government plans to ease safety checks that had left hundreds of thousands of people unable to sell their flats after the Grenfell Tower disaster were thrown into confusion last night.

Apartment owners have been frustrated by a regulation that required surveyors to carry out an external wall fire review process, known as an EWS1, before a flat could be sold or remortgaged.

With huge demand for the new form – required after the 2017 tower block tragedy that claimed 72 lives – a huge waiting list has built up.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick yesterday said the form will no longer be needed on buildings where there is no cladding – saying it had reached an agreement with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and two groups representing lenders, UK Finance and the Building Societies Association.

But within hours, the lenders made clear they ‘did not consent’ to being included in the Government’s press release, raising fears flat owners will still be unable to sell. 

The lenders claimed an EWS1 has never been required for buildings without any form of cladding.

A finance industry source told the BBC the proposal did not mean properties with issues other than cladding would automatically be exempt from a fire survey.

The source cited blocks with wooden balconies as among those still requiring external fire safety checks.

The UK Cladding Action Group said only a ‘small subset’ of flats would benefit from the change.