If you are considering selling your flat, you might have heard of an EWS1 form. This form has become an essential topic of discussion for flat owners and buyers across the UK. It’s important to be aware of it and if you need to obtain one before selling.
In this blog, we’ll answer some of the most common questions regarding the EWS1 form and closely examine its growing role in the property market.
Why is an ESW1 Form Needed?
The EWS1 form was introduced in December 2019 following the Grenfell Tower disaster, which sadly claimed the lives of 72 people. This tragedy highlighted the importance of fire safety and the need for a new, systematic approach to assessing building safety in the UK. The EWS1 form was developed by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in collaboration with mortgage lenders, valuers, and building safety experts.
The main goal of the EWS1 form is to provide a consistent approach to evaluating the safety of external wall systems (EWS) on high-rise residential buildings.
An EWS1 form is required for buildings over 18 metres high or those with more than six stories. The document aims to confirm that the building’s EWS has been evaluated and deemed safe by a qualified professional such as a RICS chartered building surveyor.
Mortgage lenders use the form to assess the risk of lending on a property. Valuers use it to determine how much the property is worth.
Do I Need an EWA1 Form to Sell My Flat?
If you own a flat in a building that requires an EWS1 form, you’ll need to obtain this form before you can sell the property. Commission an assessment of the external wall system by a chartered surveyor or another suitable professional, such as an architect or fire engineer, to get the form.
Suppose your building has already been assessed and has been deemed safe. In that case, you should be able to get a copy of the EWS1 form from your building’s management company or the professional who carried out the evaluation.
It’s worth noting that obtaining an EWS1 can be time-consuming, especially if your building still needs to be assessed. You will need to find a qualified professional to carry out the assessment, and they will need to schedule a site visit to inspect the building. Be aware that the evaluation can take several weeks to complete, so it is something you’ll need to factor into your selling timeline.
Can I Sell My Flat Without an EWS1 Form?
If you own a flat in a building that does not require an EWS1 form, then you can sell your flat without obtaining one. However, it’s worth being aware that many mortgage lenders now request that an EWS1 form is provided for buildings of any height. This means that you may be limiting your potential pool of buyers by not having an ESW1 form, even if your building doesn’t legally require one.
It’s essential to be aware of the fire safety regulations and ensure that your building complies with them, even if your flat does not need an EWS1 form. Check with your building’s management company or landlord to ensure all the necessary safety measures have been implemented.
Advice for People Selling a Flat
If you are planning to sell a flat in a building that requires an EWS1 form, there are several things you can do to ensure that the process goes smoothly:
- Check if your building has already been assessed: You may be able to obtain a copy of the EWS1 form from the surveyor who evaluated the structure or your building management company if an assessment has already been carried out. This can save you a lot of time and money.
- Commission an assessment early: If your building needs to be assessed for an EWS1 form, you should book the evaluation as soon as possible. This gives you enough time to obtain your EWS1 form before you put the property on the market.
- Be prepared to wait: Obtaining an EWS1 form can be time-consuming, particularly if your building has yet to be assessed. Consider how long it will take to find a qualified professional, schedule an assessment, and receive the form.
- Be transparent with potential buyers: If your building requires an EWS1 form, be upfront about the assessment status with potential buyers. They may have questions about the building’s safety, and providing accurate information is vital.
- Work with a qualified professional: It’s essential only to have the assessment carried out by a skilled professional experienced in assessing external wall systems’ safety.
- Consider the cost: Commissioning an assessment and obtaining an EWS1 form can be expensive, so it’s essential to factor this into your selling costs. Consider negotiating with other flat owners or the building management company to share the assessment cost.
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