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Information for homeowners considering remortgaging, selling or staircasing – June 2020

In recent months, mortgage lenders and valuers have asked people who apply for mortgages in certain properties to provide independent certification that the property meets the requirements of the government’s building safety guidance. Until this certification (provided via an EWS1 Form) can be provided, some lenders have decided not to provide mortgages, which is therefore impacting some residents’ ability to remortgage, sell or staircase.

Unfortunately, building owners across the country, including MTVH, are experiencing delays in conducting the inspections that are required in order to produce the certification. This is due to several factors, including the number of buildings that require inspections and the availability of suitably qualified independent assessors. Furthermore, the EWS1 form was intended for assessing residential blocks over 18 metres in height, however, mortgage companies are now requesting this information for buildings below this height, which is both increasing the number of buildings affected and the delays in conducting inspections.

Where MTVH is the freeholder of a building, we take a risk based approach based on criteria we gather from our records and surveys to allow us to determine the risk level. With a portfolio of over 4,000 residential blocks this is significant undertaking. As blocks are approved for inclusion in the intrusive survey programme we will inform residents in the blocks concerned. 

Where MTVH is not the freeholder of a building, we are contacting the freeholder or their agent to request they carry out the inspections.

This is a nationwide issue affecting leaseholders. However, some MTVH leaseholders are affected and we are sorry for the frustration and concern that this will be causing you.

It is important to note that if there are delays or issues with providing the certification requested, this does not automatically mean that a building is unsafe. However, lenders may not make a mortgage offer if independent certification cannot be provided.

Where defects relating to fire safety are identified, it is unlikely that the independent certification (provided by an EWS1 form) will be able to be obtained until the completion of necessary remedial works. If significant defects are present, it is likely it will take an extended period of time to complete the remediation works. MTVH is developing a programme of intrusive surveys based on risk and it will take many years to complete all these surveys. If blocks are defective, this is turn will result in further delays to remediate and issue an EWS1 form.

This is a major issue affecting buildings across the country. We are continuing to make representations to the government for action to support residents affected by these issues.  

Due to the delays some residents have been experiencing, you may wish to consider whether to proceed with the sale, remortgage or staircasing process at this time.

Any costs you incur in relation to the sale cannot be reimbursed by MTVH should the transaction be delayed or not proceed in the future. However, any administration charges issued by MTVH, will be refunded if transactions cannot proceed due to this issue.

If you have any questions about this and how it may affect you, please contact us via the relevant email address listed below:

For remortgaging enquiries, please email: homeownership@metropolitan.org.uk

For selling enquiries, please email: resales@soresi.co.uk

For staircasing enquiries, please email: aftersales@soresi.co.uk

We understand that this information will be concerning. MTVH is committed to supporting residents experiencing difficulties and we will continue to provide updates on the situation, including specific updates to those residents living in affected buildings.

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