By Tom Hussey
A man with incurable cancer is unable to sell his home due to a cladding certificate requirement on his property.
Luke Thomas, 35, of Beeton Way, West Norwood, is receiving treatment for stage four skin cancer, but wants to move back home to Wales to be with family.
Mr Thomas lives in a property that under current legislation requires an EWS1 cladding safety certificate in order to sell. But there are only around 300 inspectors in the country who can issue such a certificate – and is estimated to take up to 10 years to get one.
Mr Thomas said: “It’ll take years to resolve and that’s the problem: people like myself don’t have years.
“It’s a 50/50 chance that I’ll make five years, and I just don’t know what the future is with my health and my property. Myself and everyone are stuck in limbo.”
Mr Thomas is one of up to 3.6 million people caught up in the EWS1 scandal, unable to sell their homes.
The certificates were introduced following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017, but Mr Thomas’ building is not a priority to be checked as it is below 18 metres.
Mr Thomas, originally from Carmarthenshire, was diagnosed with cancer in 2014 shortly after he purchased the property where he lives with his partner, a chef.
He said: “People who have bought these properties have worked really hard to get on to the property ladder, then to be told I live in a worthless flat I can’t sell, it’s difficult.
“I’m in the hands of the freeholder, the developer and the government along with my mortgage lender.”
The sale of the property would ease the financial burden and give him additional treatment options following an incurable diagnosis in December.
He said: “I could use that pot of money to look at other treatment options abroad, but at the moment I don’t have that option.”
Helen Hayes, MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, initially asked developers L&Q to buy the property off Mr Thomas, but this was not an option.
She also raised Mr Thomas’ case with Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Parliament, asking the government to do more and end the scandal.
However, Mr Thomas said Mr Johnson’s answer was unacceptable.
He said: “The government need to intervene more, speak to the lenders, work out a proper plan for this, because at the moment this EWS1 form is not working.”
L&Q, which manages Mr Thomas’ building, said: “Mr Thomas’ case is a stark reminder that the national cladding issue is having a profound impact on residents across the UK.
“We are deeply sorry to hear about the difficult situation he is in, and we will be contacting him urgently to discuss his individual circumstances and see what support we can offer.”
Pictured top: Luke Thomas outside his flats
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