If you are a leaseholder or shared owner in a tall building and you are considering re-mortgaging, selling or staircasing your property, there is some important information that you need to be aware of.
New building safety guidance issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and new control measures issued by the banks, as well as our plans to replace some cladding and improve fire safety across all our tall buildings may affect some of our customers’ ability to re-mortgage, sell or staircase their properties.
Last year we began a programme to survey all our tall buildings, to ensure they comply with safety standards. This is now being followed by a schedule of remedial works to ensure compliance. Find out more about our programme of investigations and remedial work.
What if I want to sell the lease on my property, re-mortgage or staircase?
We wrote to leaseholders and shared owners in our tall buildings over 18m in height during February 2020 about how our programme of investigative surveys and remedial works might affect the selling process. We also provided information on our website about this.
Lenders or valuers often now request fire safety compliance certification or an External Wall System EWS1 form before they will approve a loan or mortgage application. Compliance certification can only be issued by approved fire safety consultants and, if work needs to be done on a property, full fire certification is unlikely to be available until that work is completed. However, EWS1 forms can be issued at the end of the investigative survey process before remedial works start, but this form does not guarantee that a lender or valuer will approve a mortgage.
What is EWS1 External Wall System Certification of Compliance?
Lenders and valuers may request an External Wall System certificate of compliance (EWS1) to confirm that the way the external wall has been constructed, meets building regulations. An EWS1 form is issued only by an approved fire engineer after they have carried out full investigative surveys and the form notes whether the external wall needs remedial work.
Lenders and valuers use the EWS1 form to help them decide whether to approve a loan. This will be one of several factors that they will take into consideration, but lenders are all different and some may decide to approve based on the information in the EWS1 form, where others may not.
Can you provide the EWS1 form for my lender or my buyer’s lender?
If your building is above 18m in height (7 floors), included in our programme of investigation and the investigations have been completed, we may be able to provide the EWS1 form.
As we receive EWS1 forms, fire engineers’ reports and fire risk assessments for the buildings above 18m in our programme, we are making them available to all those who have requested them to provide to their lenders or valuers.
We will not be providing EWS1 forms for buildings below 18m in height, although all our buildings have regular Fire Risk Assessments (FRA).
Who do I get the certification from if A2Dominion is not the freeholder of the building?
Where A2Dominion is not the freeholder of the estate, we are working with landlords and managing agents to get the certification of compliance.
What if my re-mortgaging application is refused or my sale falls through?
We now know the issues mentioned above are widespread across the UK, preventing many people from selling property. Unfortunately, there could also be delays for those coming to the end of their current mortgage arrangement, who may want to secure a new deal with their lenders.
We are unable to compensate leaseholders for mortgage arrangement fees, where a transaction has not been able to proceed.
Where a solicitor’s information pack has already been provided by A2Dominion, the fees cannot be refunded.
We know that this is a very difficult situation for many of our residents and we share their frustration. Many of these issues are caused by factors outside of our control, but wherever we can, we will do everything possible to speed up the process to assist and support our leaseholders and shared owners.
We are working intensely to ensure the investigation survey programme is completed quickly so that we can put a programme of remedial repairs in place where needed, to ensure our buildings are compliant.
Can I sublet my property?
If you are in a difficult financial position and your sale has fallen through because your property is part of a tall building and subject to the investigations mentioned above, please talk to us. In exceptional circumstances we can adjust our policy on subletting, and if you are eligible, this might be an option for you to consider. Please contact your Leasehold Property Manager via firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if I want to staircase?
Please contact us email@example.com if you would like to staircase and are finding it difficult to refinance. We will work with you to see if we can find a suitable solution.
Is there anything I need to do?
We now know this issue to be widespread across the UK, preventing many people from selling property. Unfortunately, there could also be delays for those coming to the end of their current mortgage arrangement who may want to secure a new deal with their lenders or sell their home.
If you’re in the process of selling or re-mortgaging your home, we would suggest raising this issue with any potential buyer, or the lender in the event of re-financing your property.
Where can I get further help?
We know that this is a very difficult situation for many people, and we will do everything we can to speed up the process and assist and support leaseholders and shared owners wherever we can.
If you have any questions about your lease or shared ownership arrangement, please contact our Customer Contact Centre on 0800 432 0077.
To find out more about planned work email firstname.lastname@example.org.