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ISSUE No. 88 Spring 2009

Recession By FPRA Chief Executive Robert Levene

As I write this, which by its nature is some weeks before you will be receiving this newsletter, the newspapers are full of doom and gloom stories about the recession and the economy, and certainly the FPRA office has had an increase in members who self manage contacting it as to how to deal with non payment of service charges. We have also had many members expressing concern over the security of their funds, including several concerned about managing agents, some of whom seem to be struggling to survive in this environment.

What this all brings to mind is the situation we faced in the last recession – with the added dimension of bank insecurity. Certainly there are many rumours going around about developers failing to complete blocks and estates and individual lessees who have bought and are facing substantial delays on having their block completed.

The Federation continues to push for good management. Of course, the good managing agents will not only survive but actually flourish. There is certainly the opportunity for those who have not already purchased their freehold to look at doing so, as some freeholders who previously resisted all attempts to enfranchise unless forced into it may now be willing to do so. They may even be willing to negotiate the price as they may be desperate for the money. Many individual lessees, instead of moving, may wish to improve their asset and extend their lease. However – a word of caution – we are seeing

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increasing numbers of former conveyancing solicitors and surveyors entering the lease extension and enfranchisement area without the necessary expertise, thinking they can find an alternative source of work when sales opportunities are limited.

Elsewhere in this newsletter you will find advice on how to deal with non-payment of service charges in these “credit crunch” times, as well as a guide as to how the FPRA admin office can best help you. Stephen Guy, our website designer is working on a major update to our website to include regularly asked question and answers and the committee has started a long term programme of issuing more press releases and campaigning for Residents’ Associations and lessees generally. Some of the key campaign issues we are looking at include: • Improving Section 20 procedures so that works can be done more easily.

• Energy efficiency and green agenda • Disability issues • Disclosure of insurance commissions • Safety of lessees money/regulation of managing agents

• Making commonhold work • Improving legislation • Improving operation of Leasehold Valuation Tribunals (LVT).

The main thing we are working on is to improve the service we give to our Members. We particularly always welcome members ideas. The committee would welcome involvement from any individuals who would be prepared to serve on the committee. It meets approximately six times a year in Central London. If you are interested please do contact the office.

Finally the annual subscriptions are due for renewal shortly and enclosed with this newsletter is your subscription renewal reminder. FPRA has no outside funding and relies on the membership fees to continue to operate. As a non-profit organisation we keep the fees as low as we possibly can. It would really help us if you can return your renewal form and payment by the April 1, 2009. Also, just as importantly, do recommend membership to other blocks in your area.

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