EWS1 scandal - can anything be done?

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    EWS1 scandal - can anything be done?

    I own a flat in East London which I loved living in. However in July 2019 I had a child and moved in with the misses and rented my flat out on a permission to let.

    Due to the EWS1 scandal I have found myself, like many others, unable to remortgage. My existing lender won't offer any deals as they do not do proper BTL and so I am stuck on their very high SVR, plus 1% for permission to let, plus random SVR increases because they feel like it, plus the rises from the BofE. The rent from my tenant no longer covers my mortgage payments and I'm beginning to get "The Fear".

    The building is over 18 metres, but I am only on the 4th floor. If there was a fire you could climb down. There is no cladding, it is concrete and steel construction, but the reason for needing an EWS1 form is that the balconies had wooden planks on the floor (although they also mainly consist of steel and glass). I cannot see how a fire could spread with the small amounts of wood on these balconies, but nonetheless we need the form anyway and our service charges have been whacked up 30%. The property management company (who's ultimate owner also owns over 50% of the properties through another business), is fixing the balconies at a snails pace. The excuses are endless and they refuse to provide any kind of timeframe for the work. First it was covid, then high winds, now their preferred contractor who they made a big song and dance of during the procurement process has gone, and we are waiting more months for the new contractor to start. When they do start I expect it will consist of 1 guy called Dave who will spend more time sunning himself and smoking fags than actually doing any work. They are wasting more and more time and it is beginning to feel deliberate. They started converting the balconies (which only involves swapping the wooden planks for non-flammable ones) in October last year, and nine months later they have only replaced 15%. At this pace it will take them 5-6 years to get an EWS1 form.

    I've written to my MP, who is about as much use as a chocolate fireguard, and from what I can tell, there is basically nothing that can be done. He has written to the property management company and they just ignore him as is their right it seems. To add insult to injury, the wooden handrails on the balconies did not need replacing, so I then had to pay for mine to be sanded and repainted as my tenant thought they "looked tired next to the new flooring" and I cannot afford to lose him. The whole thing makes no logical sense and quite frankly, stinks.

    So my question is, given there is no possibility of getting 50% of the leaseholders together, is there anything that can be done to hold this useless property management company to account? I realise I have been "unlucky" but are there any pressure groups or organisations I can go to in order to help resolve the situation? Or is it, as it appears to be, just a case of bend over and take it?

    Let's sort the Grenfell enquiry first , get serious apologies to those so terribly treated next.

    Government extraordinary mismanagement, playing for time, slowing matters down, letting cheating contractors get away with murder: Literally.

    Moggs insulting slur.....
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...


      So that's "B" - bend over and take it" -


        Sympathetic to your plight and others in similar but sometimes one may acknowledge there are those with higher priority.

        Had to pay for an unnecessary useless ews1 for a 2 storey house I was selling.

        Best regards.
        I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...


          That's a bit unfair.

          If anyone else could take a stab at actually answering the question it would be greatly appreciated.


            I think your thread has been posted on the wrong board as actually this seems more like a long leasehold question rather than a question about finance or investment.


            Have you contacted The Leasehold Advisory Service for advice?


            In my experience writing to a MP isn't enough if you want them to help you. You need to get along to one of their surgeries ideally with other constituents facing the same issue. Whilst I don't think your MP can help you with the management company I do think MP can help with the whole ESW1 debacle.


              Thank you, that's very useful.


                There was a debate on "Building Safety Bill", Volume 712 in Parliament on Wednesday 20 April 2022 and Royston Smith , MP, Southampton Itchen, spoke about the EWS1 Form .


                He said :

                " The EWS1 form, which was brought about by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, has caused many problems for people trying to sell their properties. We now have PAS 9980, which will not replace EWS1, but could the Minister say that from his perspective he would rather people look at PAS 9980, as opposed to EWS1? "

                OP should study this debate in detail to identify if his MP can contact other MPs with his problem.


                  There could be a "method in their madness" by that I mean that if they are painfully slow and lots of people contact then complaining about how it is stalling their sales/lettings then they could offer the solution of buying the flats at a reduced price for a quick sale. Once they have do so they can then crack on with the work and sell the flats at a greater profit. Only a cynic would think that I know.



                    Firstly I fully feel your predicament.

                    Based on PAS9980 there will be a risk from the wooden flooring on the balconies since it will be a way for fire to jump the building in the event of a balcony fire, caused by some reckless resident throwing a cigarette off theirs or having a BBQ.

                    Your managing agent has a responsibility to make the block safe, I would expect a prompt S20 consulation (likely required as non combustible decking costs are now astronomical due to demand - £300+ per sq metre plus fitting) and then get on with the work.

                    If the Manco is a member of ARMA or a redress scheme I would issue a complaint. It isn't hard to do this work, just costly. I have just completed a scheme on a block I manage so have been through this.


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