Information for leaseholders
In this section:
- Leaseholder protections.
- Advice and guidance for selling, staircasing or re-mortgaging your home, or extending your lease.
- Information about form EWS1.
- Support with selling, staircasing or re-mortgaging your home, or extending your lease.
- Option to sub-let in certain circumstances.
- What if there is a superior landlord or managing agent where I live?
At the end of June 2022 the Government introduced additional legislation to the Building Safety Act which included leaseholder protections.
The leaseholder protections aim to protect all qualifying leaseholders living in homes in buildings over 11 metres (at least five storeys) in height against the costs of remediating historic cladding or non-cladding related safety defects.
This legislation is complex and Newlon needed to seek two sets of legal advice to ensure that we can apply it appropriately and fairly for our leaseholders and Shared Owners.
Following on from this advice in May 2023 Newlon wrote to all leaseholders living in our blocks over 11 metres (at least five storeys) in height to advise them that we would not be re-charging any costs to qualifying leaseholders for remedial works for historic cladding or non-cladding related safety defects.
You can find a copy of this letter here, it includes further details on the criteria for being a qualifying leaseholder and links to the Government’s information about the leaseholder protections.
The date for being a qualifying leaseholder was set by the Government as the 14th February 2022.
It has since become clear that there is an accidental ‘loophole’ in the legislation, as any qualifying leaseholders extending a lease after this date would create a new lease meaning that the leaseholder protections would not apply.
The Government has stated its intention to legislate to close this loophole. In the meantime their guidance states that landlords are expected to make sure that the current protections continue to apply in the event that a lease is extended.
Newlon can confirm that we will continue to apply the current leasehold protections when any qualifying leaseholder extends their lease.
Once any additional legislation has been enacted we will contact residents to update them on impact of the legislation and if there are any changes in the way it applies.
If you have any further questions about this matter please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deed of certificate and landlord’s certificate
The leaseholder protections have also created two new requirements for leaseholders who are selling their home:
- You will need to provide a leaseholder deed of certificate.
- We will need to provide you with a Landlord’s certificate.
These are designed to ensure that the leaseholder protections are passed to anyone you sell your home to.
Information about these requirements can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/mandatory-information-required-from-leaseholders-and-building-owners
Please contact the resident sales team by email at email@example.com to enquire about either of these certificates.
Please only contact us about completing these certificates if you are actively selling your home and have instructed solicitors as they require considerable administrative preparation. There is a specific timeframe for providing landlord’s certificates and it will be difficult for us to meet this if we are required to prepare certificates for people who are not involved in live transactions.
Advice and guidance for Shared Owners and leaseholders if you are thinking of selling, staircasing or re-mortgaging your home or extending your lease.
If you are planning to sell, staircase or re-mortgage your home or extend your lease in some instances you may find that this is currently difficult because of the approach some lenders are taking in response to the Government’s previous advice notes or the requirements of PAS9980. This is most likely to be an issue if your building requires remedial works which have not yet been carried out.
For some buildings lenders may be unwilling to lend or cautious about lending. Their approach can include asking for specific reassurance about the fire safety compliance of a building and requesting information about remedial works programmes and whether any costs are likely to be passed back to leaseholders.
Newlon will always try to assist residents in these situations and in most cases we can provide the information requested by lenders.
If you are thinking of selling, staircasing, re-mortgaging or extending your lease please always contact our Resident Sales Team before committing to action. This is a condition of your lease, even if you are a 100% leaseholder, and we strongly advise you to contact us before you commit to any costs or make any long-term plans.
As of mid-2023 there has been some easing in the housing market due to the impact of the Building Safety Fund, some clarification around form EWS1, gradual completion of remedial works programmes and the introduction of leaseholder protections. However, the appetite and conditions for lending can vary significantly from building to building, according to individual circumstances and between different lenders.
Since the start of 2020 many lenders are asking for form EWS1 if you are seeking to sell, staircase, re-mortgage, or extend your lease. This is a standardised form introduced by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) which is signed off by a suitably qualified chartered professional (often a fire engineer) to assess a building’s fire safety compliance.
Although Newlon can request an EWS1 for any building within the scope of the scheme we cannot control how long it will take to be completed. EWS1s are being requested for many thousands of buildings nationally and there are only a small number of suitably qualified experts able to undertake this work.
Generally once an EWS1 is requested we are working on lead times of around 12 weeks to receive a completed return, although it can be significantly longer.
If a building has been through the detailed inspection programme and remedial works are required, an EWS1 would reflect this position.
As any lender is extremely unlikely to lend for a building with a non-compliant EWS1 our view is that there is no basis for obtaining one where remedial works are required.
We will always apply for a EWS1 or a new EWS1 once any remedial works are completed and appropriate building control approvals have been received.
Which buildings require an EWS1?
Form EWS1 is specifically designed for buildings over 18 metres in height or in exceptional circumstances where there are concerns about the cladding materials used or the construction of some lower rise buildings. We are aware of some instances where lenders have asked for an EWS1 for a building below 18 metres. If this is the case we will not be able to provide an EWS1 unless the materials used in the construction of the building or the building’s design bring it within the scope of the EWS1 guidance for valuers. We will be able to provide a statement confirming that your building is under 18 metres and the status of the cladding used on your building. If a lender does request an EWS1 for a building under 18 metres the guidance is that they should include justification about why they have asked for this as part of the request.
Following consultation work with the Government, RICS issued new EWS1 guidance to valuers in March 2021. This guidance is designed to take many buildings out of the EWS1 programme and to clarify when it could be required. The guidance includes specific criteria for when an EWS1 could be required. These are as follows:
For buildings over six storeys an EWS1 form should be required where:
- There is cladding or curtain wall glazing on the building; or
- There are balconies which stack vertically above each other and either both the balustrades and decking are constructed with combustible materials (e.g. timber) or the decking is constructed with combustible materials and the balconies are directly linked by combustible material.
For buildings of five or six storeys an EWS1 form should be required where:
- There is a significant amount of cladding on the building (for the purpose of this guidance, approximately one quarter of the whole elevation estimated from what is visible standing at ground level is a significant amount); or
- There are ACM, MCM or HPL panels on the building; or
- There are balconies which stack vertically above each other and either both the balustrades and decking are constructed with combustible materials (e.g. timber), or the decking is constructed with combustible materials and the balconies are directly linked by combustible materials.
For buildings of four storeys or fewer an EWS1 form should be required where:
- There are ACM, MCM or HPL panels on the building.
The EWS1 form was further updated in March 2022 to reflect the withdrawal of the Government’s consolidated advice notes and the introduction of the PAS9980. This has not changed which buildings are in scope.
How do I know if my building has an EWS1?
If we have an EWS1 for your building we will always write to you to tell you what level of compliance the building has achieved and that you can obtain a copy on request from our Resident Sales Team.
We do not send a copy out to all residents as you only need an EWS1 if you are in the process of selling, staircasing, re-mortgaging, or extending your lease. EWS1s expire after 5 years and if there is a non-compliant EWS1 and we are carrying out remediation we will always get a new EWS1 once works have been completed.
Requesting the EWS1 from us only when it has been requested by a valuer or lender will ensure that you receive up to date documentation.
Support and advice for selling your home
If you are a considering selling your home it is a requirement of your lease that you inform us of your intention to do so, even if you are a 100% leaseholder. We recommend contacting us before you incur any costs or make any long-term plans dependent on being able to sell your home. We also recommend that both you and any prospective buyer should speak to a mortgage adviser if you are using one, or any lenders involved, to understand their approach before spending any money.
Our Resident Sales Team will provide as much support and advice as we can with the sales process.
One currently common request from lenders is for Newlon as the building owner to provide a formal letter confirming a number of specific aspects of a building’s fire safety compliance.
Generally we are asked to address the following key points, depending on the type and size of building:
- Have intrusive fire safety inspections been carried out?
- Are any remedial works required?
- Have they started – when will they be completed?
- Will any costs be passed back to residents?
In most instances we will be able to provide you with a letter in response to these or similar questions.
For any enquiries about selling, staircasing, re-mortgaging or lease extensions please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Option to sublet
We have a policy to allow leaseholders and Shared Owners to sublet if they want to move, but are struggling to sell their home because of issues related to the Government’s fire safety guidance. Applications can be made by filling in the form on the subletting page on our website.
In these circumstances you can sublet for a year at a time and then for a further six months once any works have been completed.
Some residents have asked if we can buy back their home or their share, but we are not able to do this. Not only is this a national issue over which we have no control but we are already incurring significant extra costs for fire safety works, investigations and additional short term safety measures such as patrolling fire wardens, which we have not passed back to residents.
New staircasing applications
Newlon is continuing to allow people to apply to staircase, but if you are considering doing so this needs to be at your own risk and we will not be able to refund fees if the process is unsuccessful.
What if there is a superior landlord or managing agent where I live?
Some Newlon leaseholders live in buildings where Newlon is not the freeholder or building owner.
In these instances the building owner/freeholder is known as a ‘superior landlord’. In many instances they will use a managing agent to manage day to day interactions with residents, as well as areas such as service charges.
For these buildings the superior landlord is responsible for all aspects of fire and building safety if Newlon does not directly manage the blocks. This includes regular safety inspections, fire risk assessments (FRAs), meeting the requirements of the Fire and Building Safety Acts, any intrusive investigations and remedial works and applying the leaseholder protections.
If you are a Newlon leaseholder or Shared Owner living in a block with a superior landlord and have any questions or concerns about fire safety which your building owner or managing agent cannot answer, or if you are unsure about where responsibility for an issue lies, please contact us at email@example.com.