Residents forced to pay for 24-hour watch "to make sure building's not on fire"

27 August 2020, 11:15 | Updated: 27 August 2020, 11:26

By Adrian Sherling

This landlord has told LBC that the only way she can get insurance on her property in a block of flats is by hiring a 24-hour watch to make sure the building is not on fire.

LBC correspondent Rachael Venables broke the story of the controversial EWS1 forms throughout this week on LBC.

Lenders are demanding the EWS1 safety form on most blocks of flats with cladding - no form, no sale and the flats are worth zero. But there is up to a 10-year waiting list for one of these forms with only 300 chartered fire engineers who can actually do the job. Up to 3 million people are affected by this.

Veronica in Twickenham is one of those affected. She owns a range of properties and many are in buildings with cladding that require this form. Until they get that form, she can't sell.

But she told Tom Swarbrick, she felt worse for the people who lived in those buildings - and don't know whether they are safe or not.

Tom Swarbrick couldn't believe the situation Veronica found herself in
Tom Swarbrick couldn't believe the situation Veronica found herself in. Picture: LBC / PA

She said: "In one of my buildings, the owners and the occupants are having to pay for 'walking watches' - 24-hour watch for people to walk around the building and check every hour because that's the only way it's insurable.

"They check that it's not on fire and if it is on fire, they raise the alarm. It's because the insurance company is saying that is what they want to happen in order to insure the building.

"Not only are people living in a building that they are fearful of living in, but you've got an insurance company saying they won't insure it. So a walking watch is seen as a solution. And this could last for years."

Hear her full call at the top of the page.