Effective from 28th July 2023, NatWest, one of the UK’s leading mortgage lenders, is introducing new enhancements to its’ valuation process to facilitate borrowing against properties in England constructed using cladding. These revisions aim to streamline the mortgage application journey for customers and improve access to financing for properties with cladding concerns. Ever since the Grenfell disaster in 2017 where a block of flats in West London caught fire due to cladding and killed 72 people, properties constructed using cladding have been under a lot of scrutiny about their safety.
Changes To NatWest Criteria For Properties With Cladding
The primary change announced by NatWest involves the use of new data provided by the government, which confirms whether a building in England is undergoing remediation through government or developer remediation schemes. This data specifically relates to buildings that are 11 meters or taller. For buildings listed on the government remediation portal or for ones that NatWest already possesses a validated External Wall System (EWS1) form, the valuer will be able to proceed with the valuation without further delays.
In cases where a building is not listed on the government remediation portal or an EWS1 form is unavailable, the valuer will request an EWS1 form as per the current process. However, to ensure flexibility and assist customers on a case-by-case basis, alternative evidence of cladding remediation will also be considered. This may include a letter of comfort from the developer or the Department of Levelling up Housing and Communities (DLUHC) confirming the cladding’s remediation or a Fire Risk Appraisal of an External Wall (FRAEW) along with a Leaseholder Deed of Certificate.
What Does This Mean For Mortgages On Properties With Cladding?
According to NatWest, these changes apply to all types of mortgage applications involving properties with cladding in England. Additionally, any pipeline applications that are currently awaiting an EWS1 form will also be impacted by this new process. It’s important to note that NatWest has also stated that there will be no alterations to the existing process for properties located in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Mortgage brokers will still need to provide a leaseholder deed of certificate where applicable for such properties.
For mortgage brokers dealing with properties in England with cladding concerns, there are a few key steps to keep in mind:
1. Specialist Reports: Brokers will be informed if any specialist reports are required upon receipt of the valuation.
2. EWS1 Form Availability: If an EWS1 form is available for the property, brokers should continue to submit it following the existing process.
3. Alternative Evidence: In cases where an EWS1 form is requested but unavailable, brokers have the option to provide alternative evidence of remediation. This evidence will be considered on a case-by-case basis and may include a letter of comfort from the developer, an FRAEW, or other relevant documentation.
These changes represent NatWest’s commitment to supporting customers who wish to borrow against properties in England affected by cladding issues. By incorporating new data and providing flexibility in the valuation process, the bank aims to make homeownership and property transactions smoother and more accessible for affected individuals.
Speak To a Mortgage Broker
If you or anyone you know is thinking of getting a mortgage on a property, whether it has cladding or not, you should always start your journey by speaking to a mortgage broker. Here at Oportfolio mortgages, we are experts and can help you to find the right mortgage and rate for your own unique circumstances. Call our team or send us an email today to get the ball rolling. We are here to help.