Cladding on apartment blocks – will I be able to buy or sell?
By Sarah Davies, Director, Solicitor and Head of Residential Conveyancing
The Grenfell Tower tragedy highlighted an important safety issue with cladding used on residential apartment blocks.
This has subsequently caused issues for owners of apartments who want to sell or re-mortgage their property.
What do you need to know?
It is important that the type of materials used to fix the cladding to the building is known in order to ascertain the health and/or fire risk. Investigations into the types of cladding are being undertaken on many blocks and EWS1 (External Wall Fire Review) forms are being provided to appease lender concerns as to the safety of the cladding.
The EWS1 form
The EWS1 form is intended to record in a consistent and universal manner what assessments have been carried out on the external wall construction of residential apartment buildings. It is designed to provide a clear ‘safe’ or ‘unsafe’ certificate and as such, is black and white in its operation.
Apartments without cladding
Owners of flats in buildings without cladding will no longer need an EWS1 form to sell or re-mortgage their property – thanks to an agreement reached in November 2020 between the Government, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), UK Finance and the Building Societies Association (BSA).
Funding the cost of repairs
The cost of any remedial works will fall to the leaseholders however, in June 2020 the Government announced a £1bn Building Safety Fund specifically targeted at buildings with non-ACM (aluminium composite material) cladding. This fund is open for buildings over 18 metres high where works are needed to upgrade or replace complex external wall systems. In February 2021, the government announced a further £3.5bn funding for this fund.
In short, if your apartment is in a block which requires and has a clear EWS1 form you should not face any issues buying, selling or re-mortgaging.
If you own or are considering buying or selling a flat and are concerned about any potential issues with cladding, contact one of our specialist Conveyancing team on: 01244 356 789 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free initial consultation.
Please note: This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.