Source: London Assembly
The London Assembly, the 25-member elected body tasked with holding the Mayor to account, has today written to the Mayor of London on the problems facing Londoners who are finding themselves unable to move or remortgage their homes due to difficulties obtaining external wall fire review forms (EWS1).
Mark, a Londoner who lives in a one-bed flat in North London with his wife and 2 children, is one of the many people affected by this issue. Mark lives in a building that is under 18 metres but is struggling to move home due to the need for him to obtain an EWS1 form. Mark’s building has timber cladding and needs remedial work. He has been told that he cannot sell his flat until he obtains an EWS1 form, even though Government legislation says these forms are only required for buildings taller than 18 metres.
Andrew Dismore, Chair of the London Assembly Fire, Resilience and Emergency Planning Committee said,
“In what has already been an extremely difficult year for our city, we cannot sit by and watch thousands of Londoners be affected by this issue, which leaves them stranded and unable to plan for the future. They are stuck in limbo.
“Through no fault of their own, these Londoners are struggling financially and mentally and there’s no one helping them find solutions to this vast and complicated problem. Safety must come first and while the EWS1 forms bring safety to people buying houses across the UK, we cannot allow these forms to protect some but trap others in potentially unsafe buildings with no support.
“The Mayor needs to play a leading role in helping Londoners across our city. This issue is too important to wait for legislative change.”
Murad Qureshi, Chair of the London Assembly Housing Committee said,
“No one is arguing against the need to put safety first but EWS1 forms are causing big issues for Londoners across our city. Londoners are trapped in homes that are worth nothing, and no one truly understands the scale of the problem. There could be Londoners living in homes that require EWS1 forms that do not even realise it yet and that’s a big worry.
“Mortgage lenders seem to require EWS1 forms for buildings of all heights, not just those that are over 18 metres. This is surprising as the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has said buildings over 18 metres are only required to obtain these forms. This is not the case in reality.
“There is a miscommunication of some sort here and Londoners and, indeed, people across the UK are being affected by the lack of clarity. Something must be done. Cladding, of all kinds, needs to be urgently addressed and that’s why we’re calling on the Mayor to use his power, influence, and budget to help the many Londoners trapped in unsafe and unsuitable homes.”