Following further Government intervention to support the removal of dangerous cladding in buildings between 11-18 metres high, The Conveyancing Association (CA) – the leading trade body for the conveyancing industry – has launched a new “Guidance on Cladding” document to help steer member firms on what they should be looking for and how they should be advising clients and lenders.
Earlier this month, Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, wrote to property developers giving them until March to arrange how they would remove the cladding, and he announced the Government was scrapping its proposals which would have seen leaseholders within medium-rise buildings having to take out loans and further debt to fund the works.
The CA’s Guidance document has been produced following significant concern and ongoing intervention on the nature of property cladding, what is acceptable, what official documentation needs to be completed, and the implications for those purchasing property with any cladding attached.
This Guidance covers a number of areas, particularly around the External Wall System (EWS1) Form, including: what is an EWS1 Form; when and why is it required; what is the EWS1 Form process; does it have a shelf-life; and who completes it?
The document also contains a checklist for Conveyancers to follow outlining the broad steps to be completed in such cases, plus it offers a list of relevant professional bodies able to complete an EWS1, depending on which Option has been completed on the Form.
The CA said that, with a building safety regulator to be created as part of the Building Safety Act, the Guidance would need regular updating and it would be keeping a close watch on how official guidance evolved in order to produce future editions of this guidance.
The CA’s “Guidance on Cladding” document can be downloaded by visiting the CA Campaigns page under “Featured Downloads” here.
Beth Rudolf, Director of Delivery at The Conveyancing Association, said:
“Understandably, the issue of cladding has been a key one for all conveyancing firms, especially as the official guidance shifts and Government legislation impacts on property requirements particularly for EWS1 Forms. After years of stone-walling, we appear to have some significant welcome movement which we hope means leaseholders in buildings over 11 metres do not have to fund the removal of their cladding themselves, putting many into debt and currently leaving large numbers in homes they cannot remortgage or sell.
Clarity is however still required and conveyancers need to ensure they are full aware of the rules and what they mean. As such, we have produced this Guidance for conveyancers in order to help them through the process and, while it is not exhaustive, it should provide a pathway to follow to protect them, their clients and the lender involved. We are also recommending members check regularly for updates on the RICS and Gov.uk websites, and by doing this and utilising this new Guidance, they will be much more confident on the requirements with such properties.”
For further information on The Conveyancing Association, please visit: www.conveyancingassociation.org.uk