Selling a flat in a cladded block is not straightforward. Question marks over safety have put off buyers and mortgage lenders but there are others ways to sell up and move on. Open Property Group’s 6-point guide is a good place to start.
- What is cladding? Cladding can be described as another construction layer, with multiple panels affixed to the outside of a building. Cladding is usually specified to improve thermal insulation, to provide a degree of weather resistance or to enhance exterior aesthetics – or perhaps a combination of all three. Cladding can be used as a finishing building material, and included in new build properties.
- Why is cladding now an issue in the property market? The material used to clad many apartment blocks and high-rise towers came into question after the tragedy of the Grenfell fire in June 2017. Although the fire was the result of a faulty appliance, phase one of the inquiry found the main reason for the devastating spread of the fire was the cladding panels used.
- Is all cladding dangerous? The material specified, composition and any treatments applied will impact the fire safety rating of cladding. It has come to light that some materials used in residential cladding may be unsafe but only a detailed external survey will reveal what risk a particular cladding poses. After Grenfell, the Government updated its fire safety standards to ensure utmost safety moving forwards.
- Is selling a flat in a clad block more difficult? The short answer is yes. Thousands of people trying to sell flats in clad blocks are discovering there is little or zero interest in their property when it’s placed on the open market. Even if a buyer is found, mortgage lenders are extremely nervous about lending to those wanting to purchase a flat in a clad building.
Banks and building societies are, therefore, asking surveyors acting on their behalf to make extra, detailed checks to detect combustible materials. The vast majority of finance lenders now require an ESW1 certificate, which is an external wall survey, before they can proceed. It’s often a case of ‘no certificate, no mortgage’ for many purchasers, as well as those looking to remortgage.
- If I find a buyer, will there be a delay to my sale? If you want to sell property fast and own a flat within a cladded block, you may be disappointed. It’s estimated that there are only approximately 300 professionals qualified to provide an ESW1 certificate and 450 priority high-rise residential buildings in England still with combustible cladding, so delays are inevitable.
As a result, flat owners can expect to wait months or even years for a certificate, with some being told to expect a survey in 2026. Even if your block’s cladding is 100% safe, you may be unable to conclude a sale for a lengthy period of time. What the survey reveals is another matter – if the findings are detrimental, it could scupper the sale of a flat completely or wipe thousands off your property’s value.
- Are there alternatives to selling on the open market? It is worth trying to sell your property via a High Street agent or auction house but expect there to be hiccups if you find a buyer, especially at the mortgage and conveyancing stages, when surveys and searches are commissioned.
The best bet is to find a buyer who can proceed without a mortgage. A cash property buyer, such as Open Property Group, will not need a mortgage and we personally do not require an ESW1 certificate before we commit to a purchase of a cladded property. We actually specialize in buying what the industry calls ‘problem properties’ and clad flats are included in this category.
We can buy your property as fast as you wish to sell. If you have an abortive sale, we will repair the chain to allow you to move on too.Whilst we will be cautious, and require additional information, we are still actively purchasing flats which do not have an ESW1 form.
Sell your clad property fast and move on
If you live in a flat where the block has cladding and there’s no ESW1 certificate, it’s worth weighing up trying to find a buyer or selling direct to a cash buyer who can assess the situation, and take a commercial view on the situation. Open Property can give you certainty that we will proceed as your buyer at speed and without the risk of the chain collapsing. Get your cash offer, then contact us to talk about your specific situation.
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