Lender and all involved refusing to budge. What can I do?

Hello! 

So I've been attempting to get a mortgage for the past 5 months, and after an incredibly bumpy journey (I am self-employed and lenders have hated that), I have had Virgin Money approve me for the full loan amount I'd need to buy a shared ownership flat as a first time buyer. 

However, there is one little thing that has now caused a huge issue, and I wanted some advice.

I'm sure most of you are aware of the massive kerfuffle surrounding EWS1 forms. Well, I have the EWS1 form for this property. Only thing is, Virgin Money have an odd stipulation that the EWS1 form be uploaded to a very specific web portal (buildingsafetyportal) and they refuse to lend if it's not. It can only be uploaded by the engineer who filled out the EWS1 form as well. 

So I called the engineers involved, but they've flat out refused to upload to the portal and also refused to state any reasons why telling me that the Fire Industry Association (FIA) that run the portal should know why. 

So I called the FIA who told me the engineers are entirely wrong and the problem lies with the government and they can't do anything. 

After calling back the lender to discuss this, they've told me this is the only time they've ever experienced an engineer refusing to upload to the portal but they are very pedantic about the form being uploaded. They said they'd contact the engineers to learn more so I may possibly receive some extenuating circumstances, but the lender didn't seem too confident that would do much. 

I've been living out of a suitcase for the last 4 months bouncing around to different airbnb's and have become an anxious wreck. I cannot believe it's gotten so close to me owning a place only to have one final layer of bureaucracy thwart it all. 

Is there anything I can do in this sitation at all?  I just feel very powerless and the thought of still being homeless for Christmas has me very dark mentally. 


TLDR: lender is pedantic about EWS1 form uploaded a specific way with engineer refusing to upload for undisclosed reasons 
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Replies

  • aoleksaoleks Forumite
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    can't help, I'm afraid, but why do you want to buy what's essentially a flat that's worthless in the eyes of 9 out of 10 lenders? this problem won't go away in decades, the government is incapable of fixing it. you're just setting yourself up for a lot of trouble further down the line.
  • EvanEdingerEvanEdinger Forumite
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    aoleks said:
    can't help, I'm afraid, but why do you want to buy what's essentially a flat that's worthless in the eyes of 9 out of 10 lenders? this problem won't go away in decades, the government is incapable of fixing it. you're just setting yourself up for a lot of trouble further down the line.
    I forgot to mention that the flat didn't fail the EWS1 form, it achieved a B1 rating. 

    At the end of the day, I just want my own place. 
  • london21london21 Forumite
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    The solution might have to be finding another property.
    Virgin money are usually flexible compared to a lot of other lenders. 
  • MWTMWT Forumite
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    So I called the engineers involved, but they've flat out refused to upload to the portal and also refused to state any reasons why telling me that the Fire Industry Association (FIA) that run the portal should know why. 

    One of the reasons for insisting on using the portal will probably be the validation of the qualifications of the person signing the form as there were problems with forms being signed by those without the proper qualifications, and also I believe some forms that were simply faked. 
    There is also a higher standard of professional qualifications required for a B1-2 vs A1-3 form and also proof of professional indemnity insurance along with some fees for registering and filing the forms.
    One might suspect that the problem is somewhere in the costs that all of this imposes on the person signing the form and/or the proof of their qualifications/insurance perhaps?
    In any event, personally, I would not be happy proceeding with a form that had not been properly validated via the website, it would seem like a problem waiting to bite again in the future...

  • propertyhunterpropertyhunter Forumite
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    If you posted this on the buying and selling part of the forum, there are a lot of people who would recommend you not proceeding - as much as you want a place of your own. My friend had a b1 rating, then it was reclassified later to B2 and she can't sell it. It could be a sign that this property isn't the one. 

    I sold a leasehold flat this year. The buyer used a lender that didn't require an EWS1 at the time (Santander). It required two independent surveys to make sure it definitely wasn't going to be a fire risk. However, there is the PAS 9980 coming into play, and people in the know say it's even worse than the EWS1. The issue with leasehold is that you don't know what's coming around the corner, you don't own the building but are made to pay for its costs on behalf of the freeholder who does own the building. It's a system crying out for an overhaul. I'd steer clear...
  • edited 7 December 2021 at 3:37PM
    sipkinsipkin Forumite
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    edited 7 December 2021 at 3:37PM
    Hi OP - I'm in a similar situation with a remortgage. Virgin Money are refusing to accept the EWS1 form if it's not uploaded to the Building Safety Portal however the management company (the leaseholder) are unwilling to do so. The engineer are able to upload the form but will only do so with the management company's permission. The management company mentioned that they haven't faced this issue with any other lender, and there have been several sales in the year. So I'm stuck.... 

    Did you manage to get it resolved?
  • AlphaKappaAlphaKappa Forumite
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    Since Virgin is willing to take your business, I'll say look for another flat/property (unproblematic) and hopefully they'll still be willing to lend. You will  avoid headache in the future when you come to sell or remortgage. Better to take the pain now than in years down the line-becoming trapped in a flat that is practically unsaleable
  • sipkinsipkin Forumite
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    Thanks! Unfortunately, I already own the flat and looking to remortgage.... I'm also looking to sell but assume that it will put off potential buyers. The rating is A2 so it should be ok but it's just this portal issue! 
  • propertyhunterpropertyhunter Forumite
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    Fingers crossed Michael Gove gives you an early Christmas present.
  • EvanEdingerEvanEdinger Forumite
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    As an update to this story, Virgin Money had a call with the chartered engineer who signed off on my EWS1 form and the case went to the senior underwriters team. After a solid week I've just heard back I've received a full mortgage offer! 
    HUZZAH!!

    That being said, somewhere along the line their valuator messed up the service charge and changed it to be £9 / year MORE which caused Virgin to... lend me a grand less?! But rather than go back and forth another 10 business days I accepted the offer. 
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