If you're looking to buy a leasehold property that has cladding on the building, the valuer may need to see an EWS1 form.
Until they can be assured that the cladding present won't require expensive remedial work, they cannot provide us (the lender) with a mortgage valuation.
Therefore, the property report can come back with a value of £0.
Why the £0 valuation
Many buildings with cladding won't need remedial work. However, the valuer will typically need to see an EWS1 form before the property can be valued for residential mortgage purposes.
Valuers need confirmation that no remedial works are required to the building in order for it to comply with current guidance from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).
Or if remedial works are required, we need to understand what the cost would be.
Why you should care
As leaseholder, you could be handed a hefty bill.
If any remedial works are required, it is likely that the cost will fall to the individual leaseholders through management charges (levied by the freeholder). It is not possible to provide a valuation with such a potential financial liability looming over the property.
The potential (and unknown) cost to you, the leaseholder, means that a mortgage valuation is not possible without an EWS1 form.
Whether we can lend on a property comes down to what the valuer sees at the property, in line with both the latest RICS guidance and our lending criteria.
Why this is important
Ever since 72 people died tragically in the Grenfell Tower fire in west London on 14 June 2017, governmental and industry guidance on cladding and fire safety has been constantly changing.
The MHCLG's report Cladding: Progress of Remediation estimated that fixing "all serious fire safety defects" in residential buildings could cost £15bn. With approximately 2,000 residential buildings covered in combustible cladding, "thousands of homeowners [are] sleeping in potential fire-traps every night."
This is a massive safety problem, which will be massively expensive to fix.
The question remains who will pay for it.