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NEWSLETTER


ISSUE No. 91 Winter 2009


REPORT FROM THE AGM by the Editor INSIDE THIS ISSUE


Nuisance car-parking, disability rights, digital switchover and the regulation of managing agents, were all issues raised by members at the FPRA annual general meeting.


The well-attended AGM was held at the Gulbenkian room of the Park Crescent Conference Centre in London on September 22. Minutes of the formal business can be found on our website.


In addition to FPRA members representing their residents’ associations, members of the executive committee and honorary consultants, we were glad to welcome Anthony Essien, Chief Executive of LEASE (the Government Leasehold Advisory Service) and Frances Kneller of Digital UK to the meeting.


Extracts from the opening remarks by Chairman Bob Smytherman:


“This time last year was my fi rst AGM as Chairman and I made two key pledges to you.


“The fi rst was to raise our profi le with the media, which has resulted in issuing a number of press releases and making new contacts among property journalists to help widen the appeal of the Federation. I certainly didn’t expect during my fi rst year to be invited to represent the Federation on BBC Watchdog to discuss the issue of property management.


“As well as my new TV career, I have provided a number of leasehold stories to national newspapers and this is something I hope we can continue to expand on during the next 12 months.


“The second pledge was to increase our infl uence with Government and other decision- makers, and I am pleased to have been able to represent the Federation on the Digital UK Housing Expert Group, which included being invited to the House of Commons to address the All-party Digital Switchover group, to inform MPs of the issues being faced by those of us living in leasehold fl ats. Sadly, only two MPs turned up to listen to what I had to say so the meeting was cancelled, however, I have continued to inform the Government and the other parties’ spokespeople of the issues we face ahead of switchover.


AGM questions and answers 2


– raised by members who attended Does your block need a website? 5 Ask the FPRA


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– service charges and other problems Legal jottings


– compiled by Philippa Turner


“I have also represented the Federation at the Department for Energy and Climate Change consultation, to discuss the Government’s Community Energy Savings Programme. I managed to ask the Minister, Lord Hunt, whether the Government would be making changes to leasehold law, to make it easier for those of us living in private leasehold properties to carry out energy effi ciency measures, such as cavity wall insulation, which many of us are excluded from due to the terms of our lease. I am still waiting for the answer!


“The Federation also joined the End Fuel Poverty Coalition lobby group who are campaigning for changes to the law to prevent people from falling into fuel poverty, and I have attended meetings at Consumer Focus to discuss how we can get commitment from Government and Opposition parties ahead of the next election.


“Most recently, and partly as a result of the BBC Watchdog programme, I have been invited to represent the Federation on a Government ‘Task and Finish’ group, with civil servants from DCLG and other practitioners, looking in to providing a regulation scheme for property managers. We will continue to inform you about the progress with these issues in future newsletters and on our newly improved website, thanks to the website editor Stephen Guy.


“Philippa Turner and I also met with David Hewett from ARMA to discuss mutual areas of interest. Continued on next page


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