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The housing minister ‘is talking nonsense’ on EWS1 form – Star Letter 11/06/2021

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  • 11/06/2021
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The housing minister ‘is talking nonsense’ on EWS1 form – Star Letter 11/06/2021
Mortgage Solutions and Specialist Lending Solutions highlight the top comments from readers each week.

 

This week, cladding guidance form EWS1 and the new regulatory consultation CP21/13, from the Financial Conduct Authority, got readers’ fingers typing.

The claim by housing minister Christopher Pincher that half a million leaseholders would be freed from the requirement to supply an EWS1 form to their mortgage lender was met with incredulity.

Martin31, said: “I am afraid Mr Pincher is talking nonsense. The government’s supposedly independent expert panel caused the utter mess we now have. With Advice Note 14, they effectively asserted they had arbitrarily withdrawn compliance, with building regs as the standard measure of a building reaching an adequate safety standard. The surveyors were then encouraged to design a valuation methodology for lenders and things have gone down hill ever since.

“We are now effectively on the third or fourth iteration of EWS. The insurance companies do not support it and some of the lenders do not agree. The government has twice tried to spin the story that fewer blocks need a survey but so long as any lender says they do want a survey the market is in a mess.

“RICS has also changed its mind on who can carry out a survey and a small proportion of fraudulent surveys have been created. The consolidated government advice published in Jan 2020 scuppered any update to excluding EWS on under-18 metre buildings, as it now says buildings of any height need to be checked.

“So, even if a building is lower than 18 metres and less than 25 per cent clad, it’s still a “building of any height,” so does fall within the government guidance to check.

“The only solution will be for government to take back some form of responsibility for deciding what is and isn’t safe, as has happened in Australia and Scotland. If not, then we will continue to have different assessments from different EWS practitioners and different lenders taking different views with insurance companies still deciding they’re not happy.”

‘We need good regulation’

Meanwhile, the regulator’s call for views on its proposed new Consumer Duty regulation (CP21/13), elicited a robust response.

LankyDes said: “Usual balderdash from the FCA employees who have to justify existence.

“I did my first mortgage in 1983. In those days in the bank I worked for, it was a disciplinary matter if you told someone that the endowment wasn’t guaranteed to repay the mortgage. I told every customer I ever saw. Treat people how you would want to be treated yourself. I was brought up by my parents that your conscience is far more important than your employer’s rules or the regulations of those who can’t do, and probably can’t even teach, but regulate. So I will take no lessons from the FCA in thinking how customers want to be treated.

“In 40 years in the industry, I haven’t gained a single insight from the FCA or its predecessors. I had affordability calculators years before most lenders, and very useful they are. They aren’t God, however, which is what the FCA has influenced lenders to make them.

“I’m not one of these people who condemns regulation or condemns health and safety, etc. We need good regulation but sadly we don’t have it.”

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