Latest News

Agents’ views sought on property listings

20 April 2021

The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) has today, 20 April, launched a consultation to gather information to develop guidance as to what should be considered material information on property listings and portals. Read More...

Record breaking activity in regional markets across the UK

19 April 2021

Market activity continues to grow and the appetite from prospective buyers is such that many properties are not being listed on the property portals, as agents focus on fulfilling Consumer Protection Regulations, completing Property Information Questionnaires, and marketing properties to those proceedable buyers, already registered with the agency. Read More...

New 95 per cent mortgage scheme launched

19 April 2021

The UK Government has today, 19 April, opened a Mortgage Guarantee Scheme to help first-time buyers and current owners with 5 per cent deposits buy a house up to £600,000. Read More...

Proportionate approach needed to building safety in Wales

15 April 2021

Propertymark has responded to the Welsh Government’s consultation on improving building safety in Wales by supporting the proposed measures but urging the Welsh Government to also consider the height of buildings, occupation and material used to build property to determine fire risk rather than simply the number of dwellings. Read More...

Safety remains a priority as restrictions ease

13 April 2021

Yesterday, 12 April 2021, the UK Government amended advice on house moves following the easing of restrictions in England. Following measures to re-open retail in England, there is now more flexibility for branch managers to allow unscheduled visitors, however, adherence to safety guidance remains paramount. Read More...

Help for homeowners caught up in unsafe cladding process

Monday 23 November 2020

The External Walls Systems 1 (EWS1) form will no longer be required for owners of flats in buildings without cladding to sell, rent, or re-mortgage a property, as announced on 21 November by the UK Government in an agreement reached with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), UK Finance and the Building Societies Associations (BSA).

EWS1 is the external wall fire review process that was developed by the industry to assess the potential financial impact of cladding on high-rise flats above 18-meters tall. It was created for buildings with cladding but was being applied to those without, stopping some sales and house moves. Nearly 450,000 homeowners will benefit and there will be Government funding to train 2000 more building assessors to speed up valuations.

Industry bodies impact

Propertymark met with other industry bodies on 4 November, including RICS, to discuss the implications that the process was having on the home buying, selling, and renting processes. The main issue raised was that the UK Government’s Building Safety Fund was not being utilised and remedial work was not being undergone despite funding being made available. One of the main reasons for this was that to complete the EWS1 form, trained assessors are required and only a limited number are available to carry out the checks.

The £700,000 which has been made available by the UK Government to train more assessors, hopes to speed up the valuation process for homeowners in cases where an EWS1 form is required. It will mean up to 200 additional assessors will be qualified to carry out the EWS1 assessment within a month, 900 within three months, and 2,000 within six months.

The Government is also exploring ways to address ongoing concerns around the availability of professional indemnity insurance and welcomes the industry’s progress on developing a portal where lenders, valuers, and leaseholders will be able to find out if their building already has an existing EWS1, thereby reducing the demand for duplicate forms.

Quote mark

The requirement for an External Walls Systems 1 (EWS1) form has delayed or caused sales to fall through, as flat owners have had to depend on their freeholder to commission the work and so few buildings have the form already. It’s great to see lenders, the industry, and Government come together to take a far more proportionate approach to the need for an EWS1, ensuring that those living in buildings with no cladding will not require a form to sell or remortgage their property. Owners however will need certainty as to whether their building has any cladding so that they don’t get caught out during the process.

Mark Hayward

Mark Hayward
NAEA Propertymark Chief Executive

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “I welcome the support we have received from RICS and industry to resolve this matter and will be working urgently with lenders to resolve these challenges, ensuring that EWS1 forms are requested only where absolutely necessary and that the number of surveyors able to complete them is increased urgently to meet demand.”

Draft Building Safety Bill

With the UK Government under scrutiny for its handling and the timescales of the removal of unsafe ACM cladding, getting the legislation right on building safety is paramount. The announcement of ensuring the EWS1 forms are only used where necessary will hopefully speed up the removal process of unsafe cladding.

Responding to the pre-legislative scrutiny of the Draft Building Safety Bill, Propertymark acknowledges the need to upgrade building safety, however, there are concerns about the practical applications of a number of elements along with the cost to leaseholders.