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Re-mortgaging, staircasing or selling properties in tall buildings

The EWS1 form - guidance for homeowners and shared owners

Hyde has been proactive in terms of its building safety. We have completed the work required and we are confident that our buildings are safe.

We have 96 tall towers (18 metres and over) and we have already undertaken intrusive fire risk assessments on 86 of these. The remaining 10 will be completed by the end of 2020. We have also undertaken an intrusive survey on 80 of our most complex buildings. To date, we have spent over £60 million in addressing safety issues in our buildings. We have reclad 10 of our tall buildings where cladding replacement was considered necessary and are in the process of recladding a further tall tower following intrusive survey recommendations.

New government guidance means that some lenders now require an EWS1 form from homeowners or shared owners looking to sell their home. 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 - see below for more information or read our frequently asked questions.

Note that the EWS1 form may focus on areas which we do not consider to be a risk.

What is an EWS1 form and why is it required?

Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in 2017, the government changed its guidelines on building safety by issuing a series of advice notes, which are intended to give building owners clear guidance on how to make sure their homes are constructed and maintained safely.

Many homeowners are now finding they are unable to sell their home, re-mortgage or buy more shares in their shared ownership home.

This is because mortgage lenders are asking residents in some buildings for independent, intrusive certification that the building meets new government safety guidelines. This certification is known as an EWS1 form.

Like most building owners, we cannot provide the EWS1 on demand or guarantee to do so in the near future. We own so many buildings, the intrusive inspections which are required will need to be prioritised based on risk  - defined by height, occupancy and construction materials. However, we are in a good place. Unlike many owners, we have already carried out the actions required. But, we have around 5,000 blocks and we must continue to focus on our building safety programme and plan appropriately.

Our legal responsibility for building safety rests on our comprehensive Fire Risk Assessment framework. As already described, we have introduced adequate layers of fire protection within all our blocks. All of our buildings have had a valid fire risk assessment and we are confident they are safe for our residents.

We do not have a legal responsibility to provide to home owners the EWS1 form requested by their lender.

We understand this is hugely frustrating for owners who want to advance their plans and we are sorry for the impact this is having.

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Programming inspections to obtain EWS1 certificates

There is no simple quick fix, but we are doing what we can. Despite having no legal obligation, and the fact that we have already surveyed our buildings, we want to support the mobility and life choices of home owners.

We are assessing all of our buildings and prioritising them for the type of inspection required by the guidance. We have an existing small programme of EWS1 inspections for priority buildings where we have been carrying out fire safety works recently.

Our recent experience shows the extent of the new guidance makes it likely most buildings will require some remedial work, despite the fact that we have installed layers of fire protection that our fire experts have advised suitable to protect our buildings. This is a further phase which will also need to be programmed and prioritised. This means our programme of further intrusive inspections, testing and remedial works if required, could take several years to deliver. We aim to carry out EWS1 assessments on all our tall buildings that are 18 metres and over by the end of this financial year (2020/21).

We will write to residents in our tall buildings by 31 October 2020 to say when the surveys will commence.

Outside the timelines we've indicated, there is no further detail or reassurance we can provide right now for our buildings under 18 metres.

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Reassurance about safety

The safety of our residents is our utmost priority. Hyde has committed £60 million to carry out intrusive surveys to 86 tall towers and 80 of our complex buildings. All other blocks had a current fire risk assessment as required by legislation. Results of these surveys have led to major works including cladding replacement and extensive works to prevent the spread of fire. We are also implementing the recommendations from Dame Judith Hackitt’s review of building safety.

We would like to reassure our customers that all our purpose-built buildings:

  • Received building control sign off at the time of build
  • Received approval from a licensed warranty provider after they were built
  • Have an up to date fire risk assessment, which we review regularly on frequencies recommended by our fire experts. 

Frequently asked questions

You can find answers to some of the most common questions in our FAQs page, or if you need more information please use the contact details below.

Who should I contact?

If you have questions regarding this, please contact the Home Ownership Team at LME@hyde-housing.co.uk

If you have questions regarding the safety of your building, please contact residentfiresafety@hyde-housing.co.uk

If you are concerned that your ability to re-mortgage, staircase or sell your home might be affected by these changes, please seek advice directly from your lender or mortgage broker.

Head to Selling and re-mortgaging your home

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