Author : Mary-Anne Bowring
Property managers must be extremely vigilant when dealing with EWS1 forms
Another scandal of potentially epic proportions is unfolding around dangerous cladding. This time leaseholders are being targetted with fake EWS1 forms.
As if the problem of proving that buildings are safe isn't already serious enough, now fake External Wall System or EWS1 forms are being used by scammers, misleading residents, and their mortgage companies over whether or not residential blocks are clad in dangerous materials. According to Which? in a report published on 26 August, ?Leaseholders are being duped into paying thousands of pounds to fraudsters faking inspection forms amid concerns over fire safety?.
This is extremely serious. It has major implications for flat owners and their property managers and for mortgage and insurance companies who are at risk of acting upon false information. Leaseholders? mortgages and insurance policies could be voided if their forms are found to have been faked ? to say nothing of flat owners being fleeced for the expense of forms that are worth nothing and for surveys that haven?t been carried out.
The consumer watchdog says it has evidence that at least one firm has issued fake EWS1 forms to a number of blocks across the country. Which? claims the forged forms (that are used to confirm whether a building contains materials that carry an increased fire risk) may also have been used to contract out thousands of pounds worth of remediation work. The report alleges that scammers have forged the names and signatures of qualified surveyors to pass and fail buildings. ?Some forms we?ve seen have been signed off by surveyors who simply don?t exist,? says Which? In another case, "cladding technicians without the necessary qualifications" have also apparently signed off EWS1 forms.
Which? thinks these fake forms could be used ?to tender millions of pounds worth of construction work and fire safety measures to linked companies with vested interests?.
If true, this is a major problem for leaseholders. Many residents around the country are in the process of trying to sell flats in blocks that are potentially at-risk. They need these forms to be signed off in order to prove the safety of their buildings. If they are being falsified, then the whole process of finding, funding and remediating blocks with dangerous external wall systems could be put at risk. Leaseholders have suffered enough pain during this process, without adding insult to injury.
Leaseholders are already the blameless victims of the cladding crisis. Property managers should be aware of the dangers posed by falsified documents and must be extremely vigilant. They are at the sharp end of the EWS1 process and very high standards of due diligence will be needed to check that cladding specialists are who they say they are.
Read the full Which? report here: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/08/scammers-hijack-ews1-process-with-fake-cladding-inspection-forms/
Why not READ our Planet Rent Blog too: blog.planetrent.co.uk
Mary-Anne Bowring FIRPM FRICS FARLA FCABE Founder/Head of Asset Management
Strategic partnerships, holistic delivery/ opportunities, growth, value engineering, thought leadership
Ian Barber MD BTR Mobilisation & Leasing
Runs HQ & site lease-up teams. Drives rent pricing, mobilisation, marketing, happy residents!
Jon Curtis MRICS Head of Building Engineering
Chartered Building Surveyor. Lectures on EWS1 & building safety. Runs CapEx programmes.
Kate Robinson MIRPM MD Blocks/FM Management (London Region)
Master plan setup, ops and staffing and resident engagement. ISO45001 champion.
Lee Harle Partner Ringley Law
Plot conveyancing. Debt litigation. Group Company Secretary.
Anthony Kingdon MIRPM AssocRICS MD Blocks/FM Management (North Region)
Stakeholder engagement. Mixed tenure specialist. Budget management. Plant audit, PPM compliance.
Chris Georgalis MRICS Head of Commercial Valuation
Chartered Valuer. Rental valuations: retail, leisure. IRR modelling and valuations for secured lending. Compulsory purchase & rent reviews
Nichola Pughe MRICS Head of Residential Valuation
Chartered Valuer. Rental development & mixed use valuations, IRR modelling. Leasehold enfranchisement specialist
Libby Chen MSc Compliance Manager
Operational Plant & Equipment strategy PPM Compliance lead, Asset tagging Client major projects
Dipesh Parekh Director PlanetRent
Customer centric, vertically integrated PropTech/fin-tech solutions.
Leana Aristodemou MIRPM MARLA AssocRICS Strategic lead: ESG & Asset Business Plan delivery
Financial modelling, valuation analyst to support underwriting & fund reporting.
Natalie Birmingham Helpdesk Support Manager
Trainer & Helpdesk Manager: people, systems,contractors. ISO45001 supply chain accreditation.
Steve Norman Planning Director
Land due diligence (opportunities & constraints) Has contributed to a number of award winning schemes.