A man has been charged with fraud by police after a 19-month investigation into ‘EWS1’ cladding safety assessments.

A man has been charged by police after a 19-month investigation into fraudulently signed building safety forms. Merseyside Police confirmed yesterday that it had charged Thomas Michael Clarke, 33, of Knowsley Lane, Prescot, with fraud by false representation in relation to the signed EWS1 forms according to Inside Housing.

The EWS1 form was created by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in December 2019 as a way of unsticking the housing market after leaseholders living in buildings with potentially dangerous cladding were unable to sell due to banks being wary of providing mortgages.

These forms require an appropriate professional to oversee the checks and sign off the forms.

If a completed EWS1 form gives a building a clean bill of health, then a mortgage provider will lend on the building. However, if it deems that remedial works are needed, leaseholders could be unable to sell for months or even years until the work is completed.

In November 2020, residents of high-rise apartments reported a total of 88 forms which had been signed off by a person who they claimed was not authorised to sign them.

The reports, which covered a period between 23 June and 12 November 2020, were referred to Merseyside Police by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, and it affected residents in locations including London and South Wales.

The fact that these buildings didn’t have a valid EWS1 form meant residents were unable to evidence limited risk of their properties and affected their ability to sell their homes and get mortgages.

Mr Clarke is now due to appear at the Liverpool Magistrates Court on 3 August 2022.