Although the horror and tragedy that was the Grenfell tower disaster is now over four years ago, the ghostly remains of its tragic legacy will unfortunately continue to haunt many people throughout the country for the foreseeable future.
The crack down on dangerous and combustible cladding has left many flat owners up and down the country feeling very nervous and worried about the prospect of unaffordable and spiraling repair bills for works that they simply do not have the money for, leaving many with potentially worthless properties.
Although the Government is indeed starting to tackle some of the issues that have been presented by events in 2017, the guidelines remain murky and many people are finding that they are now falling in- between the gaps in the legislation. In a nutshell, buildings higher than 18m / six storeys need a satisfied ESW1 for selling / re-mortgaging purposes.
The biggest cause of concern for us as Estate Agents seems to be the buildings that fall below the threshold. Although not a legal requirement for all residential buildings to have a satisfied EWS1, for buildings below this height, it is now becoming more and more frequent for mortgage companies to request one before agreeing to lend. It seems that there is a lingering sense of nervousness within the industry that nobody wants to have a repeat of the disastrous events that happened in North Kensington on their watch.
This is an ever-increasing problem and it’s something we have now had first-hand experience at a site we manage at Kelham Island. Fortunately for us (and the owners), we have now received a satisfied EWS1 on all the blocks, with not a single remedial piece of work needed. The sense of relief was palpable from all corners of the development, including in our office too!
This situation will continue to rumble on and on for the foreseeable future and I am sure there will be many twists and turns in this long, drawn out saga that are yet to come. However, it is encouraging to see the Government starting to sit up and realise that there is a problem with fire safety within high-rise buildings in the UK.
The problem remains however, in that too many leaseholders are now feeling abandoned by the lack of clarity as to what they legally need to do and what they are obliged to do. This overlapping is something that needs straightening out by all the relevant financial and government bodies soon, otherwise there will be plenty more leaseholders becoming increasingly desperate in the next few years.
We, at Spencer, have recently become ARMA members, the recognised regulated body for block management and have grown in experience on block management over the last seven years since we opened the department. We manage various blocks city-wide now within our geographical patch and are interested in more blocks should you wish to consider us for your management.
Contact Tom or Lynn by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org