Latest News

Winter weather precautions

20 January 2021

Propertymark Industry Supplier, Gallagher offers practical steps that can help agents and their clients reduce the risk of damage to property as areas of the nation are set to see further warnings of more inclement weather to come. Damage caused by the escape of water from frozen pipes and other equipment can be extremely costly in repairs and disruption. Read More...

Concerns raised over new energy efficiency proposals

20 January 2021

Propertymark has responded to the UK Government’s consultation on Improving the Energy Performance of Privately Rented Homes in England and Wales by highlighting a number of concerns. These relate to affordability and the need to look beyond a one-size fits all policy and develop proposals that work with the different age, condition, and size of properties in the private rented sector. Read More...

Change smoke and carbon rules for earlier checks

19 January 2021

Propertymark has responded to the UK Government’s consultation on extending the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations in England, arguing that the rules should be amended so that landlords and agents must make sure the alarms are tested prior to the start of the tenancy and not on the first day of each new tenancy. Read More...

Licensing schemes are irresponsible in the current climate

19 January 2021

Propertymark has responded to a number of licensing scheme proposals from local authorities across England in recent months arguing that Councils who are pursuing the implementation of licensing schemes are being socially irresponsible. This is because in these unprecedented times landlords and agents are not able to comply with the requirements and Council resources are unlikely to be able to effectively enforce them. Read More...

The Letting Partnership commend agents on the crucial service they provide

19 January 2021

Propertymark Industry Supplier, The Letting Partnership, a specialist provider of client accounting and Client Money Protection services, outlines why letting agents should stand proud as we begin 2021and take stock of the vital role they perform during the challenges presented by the pandemic. Read More...

Help for homeowners caught up in unsafe cladding process

Monday 23 November 2020

The External Walls Systems 1 (EWS1) form will no longer be required for owners of flats in buildings without cladding to sell, rent, or re-mortgage a property, as announced on 21 November by the UK Government in an agreement reached with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), UK Finance and the Building Societies Associations (BSA).

EWS1 is the external wall fire review process that was developed by the industry to assess the potential financial impact of cladding on high-rise flats above 18-meters tall. It was created for buildings with cladding but was being applied to those without, stopping some sales and house moves. Nearly 450,000 homeowners will benefit and there will be Government funding to train 2000 more building assessors to speed up valuations.

Industry bodies impact

Propertymark met with other industry bodies on 4 November, including RICS, to discuss the implications that the process was having on the home buying, selling, and renting processes. The main issue raised was that the UK Government’s Building Safety Fund was not being utilised and remedial work was not being undergone despite funding being made available. One of the main reasons for this was that to complete the EWS1 form, trained assessors are required and only a limited number are available to carry out the checks.

The £700,000 which has been made available by the UK Government to train more assessors, hopes to speed up the valuation process for homeowners in cases where an EWS1 form is required. It will mean up to 200 additional assessors will be qualified to carry out the EWS1 assessment within a month, 900 within three months, and 2,000 within six months.

The Government is also exploring ways to address ongoing concerns around the availability of professional indemnity insurance and welcomes the industry’s progress on developing a portal where lenders, valuers, and leaseholders will be able to find out if their building already has an existing EWS1, thereby reducing the demand for duplicate forms.

Quote mark

The requirement for an External Walls Systems 1 (EWS1) form has delayed or caused sales to fall through, as flat owners have had to depend on their freeholder to commission the work and so few buildings have the form already. It’s great to see lenders, the industry, and Government come together to take a far more proportionate approach to the need for an EWS1, ensuring that those living in buildings with no cladding will not require a form to sell or remortgage their property. Owners however will need certainty as to whether their building has any cladding so that they don’t get caught out during the process.

Mark Hayward

Mark Hayward
NAEA Propertymark Chief Executive

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “I welcome the support we have received from RICS and industry to resolve this matter and will be working urgently with lenders to resolve these challenges, ensuring that EWS1 forms are requested only where absolutely necessary and that the number of surveyors able to complete them is increased urgently to meet demand.”

Draft Building Safety Bill

With the UK Government under scrutiny for its handling and the timescales of the removal of unsafe ACM cladding, getting the legislation right on building safety is paramount. The announcement of ensuring the EWS1 forms are only used where necessary will hopefully speed up the removal process of unsafe cladding.

Responding to the pre-legislative scrutiny of the Draft Building Safety Bill, Propertymark acknowledges the need to upgrade building safety, however, there are concerns about the practical applications of a number of elements along with the cost to leaseholders.