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Families in fire-trap flats suffer blow after plans to recharge property market ‘changed nothing’ 

Blow for victims of cladding scandal: Families in fire-trap flats suffer fresh blow after industry leaders plans to recharge property market ‘changed nothing’

  • Cladding victims claim plans to reinvigorate property market ‘changed nothing’
  • Last month, ministers said those in flats smaller than 18m tall didn’t need fire safety certificate to sell
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) say they can’t make any changes
  • They require the Government to change its own fire safety advice first

Cladding victims have suffered a fresh blow after industry leaders warned Government plans to reinvigorate the property market had ‘changed nothing’.

In a surprise U-turn last month, ministers said that those in flat blocks less than 18m tall would no longer need a fire safety certificate to sell their homes.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick hailed the move as a significant step that would ‘unlock the housing market’. 

Cladding victims have suffered a fresh blow after industry leaders warned Government plans to reinvigorate the property market had ‘changed nothing’. Pictured: Grenfell Tower on June 14, 2021

It came 18 months after the Government, in the aftermath of the Grenfell tragedy, issued updated guidance stating that buildings of all heights required an EWS1 form proving they did not pose a fire risk.

The move raised the number of flats caught out by the rules from 307,000 to 1.27million. 

It wreaked havoc in the housing market as lenders refused to offer mortgages on homes without a certificate, while leaseholders were told they faced waits of years to get one due to a shortage of qualified assessors. 

It was hoped the U-turn would allow nearly a million leaseholders to sell their homes again.

But the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which is responsible for EWS1 forms, has said it is unable to alter its guidance until the Government officially changes its own fire safety advice, which could take months.

This means many low-rise buildings still require an EWS1 form.

In a surprise U-turn last month, ministers said that those in flat blocks less than 18m tall would no longer need a fire safety certificate to sell their homes. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick (pictured)  hailed the move as a significant step that would ‘unlock the housing market’

In a surprise U-turn last month, ministers said that those in flat blocks less than 18m tall would no longer need a fire safety certificate to sell their homes. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick (pictured)  hailed the move as a significant step that would ‘unlock the housing market’

RICS outlined its stance during a call with lenders and trade bodies a week ago, according to the Financial Times. 

Representatives said ‘urgent clarification’ was needed before it would change its position. One person on the call said Mr Jenrick’s intervention had ‘changed nothing’.

David O’Leary, policy director at the Home Builders Federation, said he doubted that a change in fire safety guidance would solve the crisis. 

The Mail has called for ministers to reduce the number of unsaleable flats as part of its End The Cladding Scandal Campaign.

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