/ Home & Energy

Have you had mortgage issues due to an EWS1 form?

A survey designed to ensure high-rise blocks of flats adhere to fire safety rules is causing mortgages to be declined. Have you been affected?

26/08/2020: Scammers take advantage of EWS1 confusion

Which? has seen evidence that fraudsters are duping leaseholders into paying thousands for fake External Wall Survey (EWS1) forms.

Read the full story on Which? News

The forms forged the names and signatures of real chartered surveyors. The findings have been passed to the police and Action Fraud.

You can read more about the effect the EWS1 process is having on blocks of flats around the country here.

21/07/2020: Have you had mortgage issues?

Following the Grenfell tragedy, UK Finance, the Building Societies Association and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors collaborated to create the External Wall Survey (EWS1) in December 2019.

What is an EWS1 form?

The External Wall Survey was launched to ensure older blocks of flats weren’t built with combustible materials, such as the cladding or insulation, giving mortgage lenders confidence to lend on apartments built before changes to building regulations in late 2018.

The EWS1 is recommended for residential blocks of 18 metres or taller, and must be requested by the block’s original developer. One completed survey is recommended per building.

Mortgage complications

There are stumbling blocks in the EWS1 process which are causing headaches for home buyers.

First of all, the survey isn’t mandatory, and secondly, it was only launched last December. This means that some mortgage lenders require the form, but others are yet to implement it. 

Rules vary, too. When we spoke to two major banks earlier this year, one told us it only asks for the form for flats built before February 2019, and the other refused to outline its requirements.

The survey can be arranged with permission of the freeholder (often via managing agents), leading to huge frustrations for buyers seeing their moves placed on hold as various parties come to an impasse. 

We’re also now hearing examples in which lenders are refusing mortgages on blocks of flats regardless of the recommended 18 metre or taller height, leaving smaller blocks requiring the form to buy and sell.

A ‘slow and expensive’ process

Home buyers and sellers have contacted Which? telling us they’ve hit a brick wall when it comes to obtaining an EWS1 form, and frustrations are growing.

Last month, the Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) Committee described the EWS process as ‘slow and expensive’ and said it is ‘being applied to an unnecessarily wide range of buildings’.

It has called for the government to implement a ‘faster and fairer’ system.

Have you been denied a mortgage or had a move fall through due to the lack of an EWS1 form? What progress have you been able to make since?

Let us know your situation in the comments.

Comments

I am a shared owner of a one bedroom flat. I recently found out I am pregnant, found a buyer very quickly for my flat and put a deposit on a house. Found out my buyer cannot get a mortgage with any lender without the EWS1 form which the freeholder and managing agents are both denying liability for obtaining and are not in the process of obtaining. I’ve been told I have no option but to “not sell currently” they have also refused my request to rent out my flat due to it being too small for my needs. So I am now stuck in a one bed flat with a baby on the way! Something needs to be done, lenders should not be refusing to lend especially on properties with no cladding and under 18m!

Sorry to hear that Chloe, something does need to be done, the regulation has complete disregard for leaseholders, they should of made it a legal requirement for freeholders to obtain the survey or the government should do it themselves not just leave leaseholders with absolutely no options, these regulators need to be fired.

A few minutes ago I was reading an advertisement for a retirement village in which it was suggested that the company could put prospective residents having difficulty getting a buyer for their present home in touch with a national house-buying service which would acquire their property quickly. I have no idea whether or not this is a good idea – I imagine there would be some form of financial penalty for transferring the risk and gaining time – but it would be interesting to know whether any of the people who are stuck in a flat and unable to sell it have tried to use one of these services to break the log jam and what the outcome was. Was the price too far adrift of the market value? Did it take longer than indicated? Was it genuinely hassle free as proclaimed?

I am stuck in this conundrum with a re-mortgage and urgently need a route out of it.. The Management Company are tortuously slow – so I would be happy to approach a surveyor myself.. Is it possible for anyone to provide details of one the would carry out this survey.. Any help that can be provided gratefully received.. my property is in Leeds..

Diane Nazar says:
29 September 2020

you could check the register here: https://www.ife.org.uk/Fire-Risk-Assessors-Register

Antony – I think you will find that surveyors will not accept instructions from anyone other than the freeholder. The external structure of an apartment block is owned by the freeholder – only the space within the external walls is held on a lease by the leaseholder, so only the freeholder has authority to commission an external wall survey.

If this turns out not to be the case and you are successful in commissioning a survey yourself on behalf of the leaseholders at your property, it would be helpful if you could report back here for the benefit of others who are in the same position and equally frustrated with the difficulties of progressing their sales or re-mortgages.

James Burns says:
23 September 2020

I am very much in one of the unpleasant situations caused by this ham-fisted piece of legislation. The building in which I own a flat in has wooden balcony attachments with each property, and a conditional EWS1 form was provided for the building (conditional on removing the wooden attachments).

The problem has then been getting all the leaseholders to agree to a plan to do this – in a building with 50+ flats that is a total nightmare, and has delayed the sale of my flat by well over a year now, as lenders will not lend until the works are completed.

Something desperately needs to be done to simplifying this process, and to mollify lenders so they will be willing to lend on conditional EWS1 forms.

Jordan Wood says:
23 September 2020

I’m in the process of purchasing a flat and my mortgage lender has asked for an EWS1. The seller doesn’t have this and even if the freeholder agrees to the survey the purchase will be delayed by at least 12 weeks.

I’m unsure if I should just switch mortgage lenders to one that doesn’t require the EWS1 or to pull out of the purchase. Will all mortgage lenders wait an EWS1 in the future meaning i’d have a problem selling the property? Is it worth the risk?

I suspect all lenders will require Form EWS1 – initially it was required only for building 4 stories or above and over 18 metres high.. It seems it has been extended where there is any evidence of external cladding/decorative wood etc. I am looking at the possibility of arranging my own External Wall Survey with a Chartered Surveyor.. This is one of those Government over-reactions and everyone is now so Risk Averse that it has made these properties un-mortgageable – I certainly would not buy one, if I was starting out… Mine is already owned by ne but with an interest only mortgage that is about to expire – the existing lender refuses to go beyond the existing end date so I either have to re-mortgage with an alternative lender or sell – this EWS1 Form have made both options impossible!! Help!!!!

Sorry Jordan but there are no nice answers here. An EWS1 form sounds like a small piece of admin but it in reality it’s the final piece of paper after a series of potentially quite intrusive checks in the building (think people with cherry pickers cutting inspection holes at various heights). The form simply notes any fire risks, if it’s below a certain classification then remediation works are needed, a reasonable range for this is £20k-£100k (I’d love to be making those figures up – sadly I am not), followed by another EWS1 to confirm the all clear. The form is only valid for five years, after which is needs to be done again. There are insufficient number of qualified people who can carry out these checks so progress across is country is slow.
In terms of finding another mortgage company, details are mirky but experience seems to show just about every mortgage for a flat needs one.
TLDR – don’t buy a flat right now, unless you’ve done your homework. Even then know the risks.

So long as the government doesn’t drop more bombs on landlords, it should be possible to sell flats to buy-to-let investors in future. That seems to be an effective route in our part of the country, but of course it might depress the value of such property for the seller.

My difficulty is this: My flat is buy-to-let on an Interest Only mortgage that was for 17 years which expires next May 2021. The existing lender will not allow me to re-mortgage with them beyond that date. I have gone to a new lender who agreed in principle and everything was in place – this EWS1 form has stopped it. Come next May, if I am no further forward, I will be forced to sell – but no one will buy in these circumstances and I will have no lender! If the EWS1 Form is a legal requirement are the company that manage the flats obliged to get the survey done (they are a legal firm that all owners pay £100 per month to). Alternatively, would anyone know if/how I would go about arranging the survey myself or, indeed, if that is even possible?.. Many thanks for any help that can be offered – it is clear that there are loads of people out there in all sorts of different difficulties due to this requirement!!

I am not competent to comment on the technicalities of the individual situations being described here, but so far as I am aware there is no legal requirement to have an external wall survey report carried out if the building is less than eighteen metres in height. The problem is that, for their own security in the event of foreclosure, mortgage lenders have decided to insist on a satisfactory EWS1 report.

I also believe that only the freeholder of leasehold property has authority to commission the survey – even though the leaseholders would pay for it and for any remedial works required in consequence. Not all leaseholders are in a position financially to meet the cost of a survey and its remedial work anyway so, unless they anticipate selling up in the foreseeable future, there is no pressure coming from that quarter. Because it is not a legal requirement, many freeholders are disinclined to commission an EWS survey so a stalemate has developed; only the government is in a position to crack that but it appears reluctant to do so.

It would be useful if Which? could round up for guidance, and especially for the benefit of contributors to this Conversation, the various answers to frequently asked questions and notes on the main points of concern. A progress report on the state of current discussions within the major parties involved – the government, the lending sector, the surveying profession, freeholders and managing companies, and leaseholder interests – would be welcome since it is a long time since there was any feedback on the state of play, meanwhile the number of frustrated owners is building up and, as The Times put it recently, the housing market at that level has effectively been paralysed. This is stifling the wider market by preventing upward and downward movement and this in turn has a negative effect on new home sales and investment generally.

GerdBlanc – You are right to point out that only those investors with available funds – essentially only those who will not require a mortgage or other borrowing – will be in a position to buy a leasehold flat and they might be inhibited because of the potential difficulties in the event that they wish or need to sell. This will also depress market values.

John – Many thanks for your comprehensive response – you clearly have very good knowledge of this area and your contribution is enlightening. I am interested (and disappointed) on your observation that individuals cannot commission the EWS, it has to be the Leaseholder. I have approached the Surveying company that carried out the Building Society’s survey to see if they can provide someone to complete the EWS1, for which I would consider paying – it now seems this may be a futile road to go down. I have also been back to the Management Company for the block of apartments (the Leaseholder), who have said ‘If it is a legal requirement’ they will get it done.. presumably if they are aware that it is not a legal requirement, the won’t! So we would be better if the Government made it legal.. All in all it is a scandalous position to put this sector of the housing market in! I really appreciate your comments.. seems, though that there is not much else to add.

Thank you, GerdBlanc.

Just for clarification, in the context of a block of apartments, the Freeholder is the ultimate owner of the building and the ground it stands on. They receive the ground rents and are responsible for insuring the structure [albeit at the Leaseholders’ expense] so they are legally responsible for the condition of the building. No one else could commission an external wall survey without their consent and any attempt to do so by instructing a surveyor independently would be referred back to the Freeholder.

A Leaseholder is someone who holds a lease of a part of the building for a set term of years which means they are entitled to occupy it subject to the terms of the Lease. They are responsible for paying the ground rent for that part and for that part’s share of any management and maintenance expenditure including their portion of the insurance premium.

A Management Company is appointed by the Freeholder to manage and maintain the property on their behalf. Sometimes a second [financial] management company is employed just for the collection of the ground rents and insurance premiums.

Leaseholders usually have the right, subject to the management company’s approval, to sub-let their part of the property to a Tenant who occupies it and pays a monthly rent to the Leaseholder.

In some blocks the Leaseholders’ have formed their own Management Company and taken over the management and maintenance responsibilities.

I cannot see the government transferring the responsibility for obtaining an external wall survey report away from the Freeholders.

Its worth noting that since 1st May 2020 the RICS have allowed Insurers to issue terms with restrictions in the cover which effects the Chartered Surveyors ability to provide EWS1 forms as Insurers are issuing terms excluding cover for these forms including Fire Safety Exclusions. Therefore the Surveyors themselves will not be covered for providing these reports and so the clients will find it difficult to get a Chartered Surveyor to carry out the survey knowing they are not insured to do so.

Lucianne Ricketts says:
26 September 2020

We have been refused an application to remortgage our ground floor flat which is in a 4 storey building because it does not have an Ews1 certificate. The freeholder is refraining from carrying out the survey as the building is not 18m high so we are now stuck with little hope of ever being able to sell our flat as the banks/building society surveyors will not give a valuation for any flats in this building without an Ews1.
Extremely frustrating and expensive.

Eleni27 says:
28 September 2020

My and my partner have been in the process of buying a house since May. Everything was going well and we had put down the deposit (a high one) for a shared ownership flat. The property we are trying to buy is under 18m tall so legally i believe they are not required to have an EWS1. However, lenders will not give us a mortgage without it… We have provided a Fire Risk Assessment specific for the flat we are trying to buy and it is still not enough for them.. My question then is – Are they ever going to sell the flat if they don’t have a EWS1? It surely is a loss of money for both lenders and sellers… So frustrating as we have paid so much money already and dont know what to do…

I’m in the same position. I am selling a 2 bed flat in a small block of 5 flats. Under 18m and only 2 stories high. The buyer has been refused a mortgage because the freeholder doesn’t have a EWS1 cert. I’ve requested that the freeholder gets a certificate, but they have refused as it’s not a legal requirement. It’s stalemate now. The only option I have is to ditch my buyer, put the property back on the market, and try to attract a cash buyer.

This is insane.

If you want this changed you can sign this petition urging the govt to step in: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/328201

Joanne O'Neill says:
29 September 2020

Just been told by our mortgage adviser the lender for our remortgage needs an EWS1 form. I contacted our factor, still waiting on an answer but have been told it’s the responsibility of the home owner, slightly confused by this since I don’t own the whole block of flats.

Hi, I am one of the many affected by this new legislation in NE London. I bought my shared ownership flat last march (2019) with a mortgage from Nationwide. I’m now able to staircase, but Nationwide won’t lend me additional funds, because they now want the EWS1. TSB also refused due to the EWS1 form. Annoyingly, I’m in a block of flats that is less than 5 stories and the housing association deemed low risk, so technically the EWS1 form isn’t required and they have no intention of sorting the EWS1 form anytime soon and because I don’t own 100% of my flat, I’m legally not allowed to rent it out either. Thankfully, Nationwide have said they will renew my current mortgage when it comes to it, as it isn’t ‘new borrowing’. This wouldn’t be such a problem if it wasn’t for the fact that my partner has cancer and I’ve moved in with him to help with his care, so ideally we don’t want to be paying for two mortgages when we don’t need to. Something needs to be done about this fiasco.

Damian says:
30 September 2020

I guess anyone who is buying a flat will have the same issue. Our valuation was put at 0 and a requested was made for the EWS1 form for a 3 story building – after the mortgage offer has been issued. No one has the EWS1, as it was not a requirement for a building below 18 meters. Despite, lenders require one if there is a concern in the valuation notes, the property we want to buy has timber decorative panels. Dreams shuttered. We are left with 2 months of stressing, money wasted and we will loose out on our dream place due to bureaucracy.

I have spent some considerable time reading through all these comments which demonstrate the scale of the problem here. However, there is not going to be any quick solution to it based on the demands that are currently being  made. I believe that the focus is completely mis-placed and the problem is not simply EWS1 forms, but is the totality of the fall-out from Grenfell. Much has been debated regarding this and everyone is blaming each other. Developers are refusing to take repsonsibility, as are leaseholders. They all argue that it is not thier fault and I agree…with both sides. They are innocent victims.

The Building Regulations are a set of standards set by the Government to which properties must be built for the purpose (amongst others) of ensuring a property is a safe place to live. Each buyer of each flat will have hired a lawyer to deal with their conveyancing and that lawyer will, in each case, have confirmed that the property is OK to buy…that all of the boxes are ticked. In each case they were right UNTIL Grenfell.

So what went wrong? The “Fault” is that the Building Regulations were not appropriate. They failed. A building could be signed off when it was not safe. We know that however only now, with hindsight and a tragic loss of many lives. But, with the benefit of that hindsight we can now see that is where the fault lies.

As with all things, where there is fault, there is a clear responsibility, in my view, both legal and moral, for that to be put right.

So what is the solution?

None of the debate I have seen surrounding this subject has sufficiently pointed the finger at the Government. Their culpability has been disguised by the near (but understandable) hysterical squabbling and bickering between the leaseholders and developers as to who should pay to make all of these buildings safe.

It is quite simple.

1. The Government had (and continues to have) a legal duty to ensure that the Building Regulations are fit for purpose.
2. It has become apparent (because of Grenfell) that the Government has failed in that duty.
3. Loss has been (and continues to be) suffered by the persons to whom the duty is owed.

These are the three essential ingredients to legally prove negligence in a court. I have no doubts that the Government are legally liable to fix every single property which falls short of being safe.

It is reasonably foreseeable that all of the people now requiring EWS1 forms would also suffer loss as a result of the Government’s failure to take ownership of, and responsibility for, the problem.

I have no doubt that, in time, if the Government fails to act, a class action against them will be inevitable and that it will succeed.

The unique power of “Which” needs to bring this to the Government on the basis that if they fail to “do the right thing” then they will be forced to do the right thing.

So what is the right thing?

1. The Government must immediately pledge to ensure every block of flats of every size will be made safe at Public Expense.
2. The Government must immediately pledge to supply an EWS1 Certificate for every flat.

These Pledges would re-assure every buyer and lender that there is nothing to fear so that normality to flat sales can return in the certain knowledge  that the problem will be resolved in the near future.

Without this, the sorry mess will continue to slowly roll on leaving tens of thousands trapped in artificially devalued homes indefinitely. The Government’s failure to deal with this in the above way thus far is nothing short of a National Scandal and I remain astounded that a class action has not already been brought.

“Which”, I can think of no organisation better placed than you to get this train rolling. There needs to be proper media focus on this because it is a scandal. When scandals get publicity, that publicity gets results.

Firstly, may I express my sympathy with those who have shared their difficult experiences on this page.

Earlier this week the sale of my flat in SE London, and by default the purchase of what I hoped would be my dream home with my fiancé, collapsed due to the EWS(1) debacle. We received the news via the management company that the inspection outcome was a B2, with numerous pieces of remedial work required including external wooden cladding. The block was built in 2008 and is majority 3 storeys, all <18m. The warranty expired in 2018.

The one positive is that the Freeholder seems motivated and proactive to appoint a surveyor asap to move this to the next stage and understand the costs and time involved. I appreciate that many on here are struggling to even get the Freeholder to initiate an inspection, which must be incredibly frustrating and stressful.

Now just having to come to terms with the fact that our life plans have been thrown in the air, we're stuck in an unmortgageable flat indefinitely (up for renewal summer '21) and this is likely to cost me tens of thousands when the whole point was to save on the Stamp Duty freeze!

Stay strong everyone.

Brett Jacobs says:
2 October 2020

We are in the process of buying a flat on the first floor of a two storey building. The valuer has raised an issue regarding four small areas of UPVC cladding surrounding a door and some windows on the exterior elevations and the lender is insisting on a ESW1 survey. However, all of the RICS surveyors we have contacted are telling us that their public indemnity insurers are now refusing to cover them to do ESW1 work. We are struggling to work out how to proceed.

The issue of dangerous cladding on high rise and other buildings continues to be discussed at length, because it continues to cause major concern for so many people. Which? has been asked several times recently about our potential role in addressing this problem so it may help to clarify our position here.

It is very evident that this is an extremely serious and deeply troubling issue, affecting many thousands of consumers, both emotionally and financially. It is equally evident that action needs to be taken urgently, led primarily by the housing sector and by government.

Given how crucial this clearly is, Which? has considered in detail what our role could potentially be in helping to push the situation forward. As you may expect, the main driver in our considerations has been around deciding how much of a material difference we could actually make.

After much deliberation, our reluctant but realistic conclusion is that, unfortunately, we do not have sufficient technical knowledge within the organisation to lead on this issue, or the relevant relationships with the key decision makers in government to enable us to tackle it successfully.

However, it’s important to stress that we will continue to cover this in our content, as a consumer news story of major public interest. We have already featured a number of relevant stories, just one example being Sam’s story from the Olympic Park’s East Village this week: https://conversation.which.co.uk/home-energy/olympic-park-london-flats-ews1/. We also expect to follow this up in the coming weeks here on Which? Conversation with further case studies from residents affected in other blocks.

We expect – and certainly hope – that publicising these personal experiences will help to raise awareness and provide evidence for those groups and individuals advocating on this. In addition, there is scope for us to lend the Which? voice to stimulate greater media interest in the situation. We’ll also share evidence or case studies from our content with the relevant authorities, wherever that could prove useful.

This is an issue that needs addressing, and urgently. To that end, Which? will do all that we practically can to support those organisations and individuals who are in the best position to lead on achieving the all too necessary change in question.

For further examples of related stories that we’ve recently featured, follow these links:

https://conversation.which.co.uk/home-energy/mortgage-refused-ews1-form-cladding/

https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/08/homeowners-face-sales-falling-through-and-zero-valuations-due-to-fire-safety-test-delays/

https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/08/scammers-hijack-ews1-process-with-fake-cladding-inspection-forms

I do not have a problem but would like to thank you, Richard, for your explanation about the difficulties faced by Which? in making progress on behalf of those who are affected. I feel that Which? should be more open with us when it is unable to make government and others address some of the problems that our association discovers.

@richardanderson, thanks Richard. I think that is a very sensible assessment of Which?’s position if I may say so. I do not think it necessary for Which? to spend time on causes on which it has no expertise.

What I would think Which? could do would be to identify the, or those, organisation(s) that do have the expertise and the ability to deal with such topics. I would be surprised if, in view of the large number of complaints, some independent group is not prepared to lobby on ESW1 issues to sort out a very unsatisfactory situation. Then I’d like Which? to provide the link and perhaps update us with progress.

Thank you, Richard, for your explanation that Which? cannot usefully progress this issue. This is disappointing but inevitable and it is better to admit this now than to continue to raise people’s expectations.

I have been pleased to see that the national media have been paying more attention to this problem lately and urging the government to tackle it.

I agree with the points made by Malcolm (above) in his second paragraph.

It is worrying that Which? has realistically come to the conclusion that “it does not have . . . the relevant relationships with the key decision-makers in government to enable us to tackle it successfully.” That is clear on this topic but it also applies in many other cases that Which? needs to transact with the government and I feel strongly that the government of the day should keep an open door for Which?. Without it getting too close to the government, I hope Which? will do what it can to cultivate the sort of relationship with the key ministries governing consumer affairs that will be conducive to a more amenable approach and response.

K Buckley says:
4 October 2020

I own a two bed flat which is in a block under 18m high. I was refused a mortgage six months ago by TSB because we didn’t have an EWS1 form. After two flat sales in the building also fell through, our management company got a survey, which we failed. We’re now facing worries about the company trying to make us, the leaseholders pay for expensive remedial works and interim measures such as a waking watch or sprinkler system. We’re waiting for further fire safety tests to tell us the extent of the problem and costs. Meanwhile we’re all stuck and unable to move or remortgage.

Liam says:
4 October 2020

The other area this impacts is for those (like myself) who have taken out the Government Help to Buy Loan. It is designed in such a way that after 5 years, you either buy out the loan (typically consolidating it as part of a remortgage) or you have to start paying interest. I now have the prospect of the latter as my mortgage lender has unequivocally stated that they require the ESW1 form to support any remortgage application. I have a live complaint with Target HCA who run the Help to Buy Scheme – having requested them to freeze the loan repayments on the basis that I’m stuck in this situation. 2 months later, no reply. This is a case of two contradictory pieces of Government legislation. The Government should be proactively contacting anyone with a Help to Buy Loan providing advice and making suitable adjustments to the repayment policy on the basis of this mess.

Alex says:
5 October 2020

Hi Richard
I agree that Which on it’s own does not have the technical knowledge or links with Governement.
However Which is not on it’s own. Almost every organisation linked to housing is affected:
RICS, banks, building societies, estate agents, housing associations, landlords, tenants, the fire services, health and safety executive, MPs, local councils, solicitors and presumably perhaps any one still connected to the high rises orginally affected and the Grenfell enqiry and the vicitms of that preventable tragedy.
Which could talk to leaders in any or all the above to put the pressure where it needs to be on Governement.
If this was a faulty drier causing death and distruction and destroying the drier industry would Which say they did not have the expertise to move the matter forward?
Come on Which “get grip” and give us a lead.

Hi Alex,

Make no mistake, Which? is very aware of the huge scale of this issue, including the breadth of the organisations who are affected, and those who are in a position to potentially bring about meaningful change. Unfortunately, Which? is simply not the organisation best equipped to actually lead on this.

With regard to faulty dryers, that is, with respect, an entirely different situation. For many years, we have tested and reviewed washing machines & tumble dryers and we therefore have the requisite background & science/engineering expertise to facilitate material change. In that instance, we were also able to bring some pressure to bear directly onto the company producing the dangerous machines. We do not have the same expertise, or the same leverage, relating to housing and potentially dangerous building materials.

That said, I would reiterate my earlier points around what Which? can do, and what we are doing.

We are fully committed to covering this issue in our content, as a news story of significant interest to many consumers. We will use our voice to maintain strong media interest in the situation. We will, wherever it may help, share evidence or case studies from our content with the relevant authorities, not least with the key decision makers.

Change is needed and, rest assured, Which? will continue to do all that we reasonably can to help achieve that.

Eloise says:
26 October 2020

Hi Richard, thank you for explaining your position. I understand it but also find it a bit disappointing.

One thing that Which could do is to officially back the national ‘End Our Cladding Scandal’ campaign. This would help amplify our voices. We already have several organisations, as well as leaseholder groups on board (See @EOCS_official) but adding your organisation’s weight behind the campaign would definitely help. Would you consider this?
Many thanks

Hi Eloise,

This important issue has been discussed at some length, but unfortunately I have to report that Which? will not be able to formally back EOCS’s 10 steps. We know that you and others will be disappointed, but our honest conclusion is that we do not have the expertise to be at the forefront of this issue, or verify the research involved in a 3rd-party campaign.

Quite clearly, the issue itself is hugely worrying for so many people – we fully recognise this – but sadly we simply do not have the in-depth knowledge of the various aspects of the 10 steps to align ourselves with them.

Needless to say, our decision is not in any way whatsoever a comment on the 10 steps themselves. It is based entirely on Which?’s position as an organisation keen to play our part in keeping the profile of this issue high whilst acknowledging that we are not in any way the experts here.

We will continue to publish the experiences of affected leaseholders here on Which? Conversation, in order to help amplify their voices. I know that the Editor has more guest articles lined up in the coming weeks, all of which will be promoted on our social media accounts and other channels.

Bob Jenkins says:
7 October 2020

The situation in this area seems to in recent time moved into a real stalemate. Looking at the latest information, it is clear that every mortgage lender now requires an ESW1 form for flats for a new or re-mortgage overwise it will be a ‘nil valuation’ and so not worth applying for the mortgage. I have found this as the buyer of my flat needs one to get a mortgage after I accepted the offer. I spoke to my solicitor who was off on furlough in March and then came back to work recently and said before March hardly there was a mention of this form, now all he is ever hearing is buyers/sellers needing this form. You can’t just apply yourself for the form, its the freeholder of the flat who has to authorise the survey and depending on the size of the building it can be £6k to tens of thousands of pounds and a massive wait as the few companies that can do it and able to legally and competently sign it off are very few. Its a total mess that anyone could have predicted happening when the idea of the requirements to undertake this form was thought up and will really stall the movement of the housing market of people in and out of flats.