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ISSUE No. 81 Summer 2007

Protest to The Prime Minister

A letter expressing concern at the impact of new Government legislation on leaseholders has been sent to the Prime Minister by the FPRA. In his letter to Tony Blair, John Peartree,

FPRA chief executive, complains that there is

too much legislation and the effect on the leasehold sector is not being properly thought through. He calls on the Government to consult more widely with bodies such as FPRA in future. The letter has also been sent to the leaders of the other major political parties. The text of the letter is as follows:

Dear Prime Minister, The Federation of Private Residents’ Associations represents long leasehold and

tenanted flat owners in England and Wales and estates of largely owner occupied private freehold properties via their Residents’ Associations. We have hundreds of Residents’ Associations for long leasehold flat blocks as members, some of whom have independent landlords, some of whom have purchased their own freehold.

A continuing problem for our members, especially leaseholders, is the sheer volume

of legislation that is affecting them, much of which is occurring without sufficient consideration or involvement of interested parties due to a systematic failure within Government to consider the impact of new legislation on the leasehold sector.

Where there is specific legislation that is aimed at leaseholders, the Department of

Communities and Local Government and its predecessors have consulted groups such as ourselves. But the problem arises when there is legislation originating in other departments where the impact, particularly on smaller or resident-owned blocks, is not taken into account or apparently appreciated at all. The most obvious example of this is the legislation on Houses in Multiple Occupation where the original objective of improving the bottom end of the rental market has been lost in a bureaucratic monster that will involve our members in enormous and totally unnecessary effort and expense while disadvantaged and vulnerable tenants will remain prey to those irresponsible landlords who will continue to choose to flout the legislation. Ironically, legislation already exists that gives local authorities the ammunition to fire at rogue landlords, but the burden and expense of enforcement of the Houses in Multiple Occupation and other legislation is so onerous that they are likely to be deterred from exercising their powers effectively.

The object of this letter is to request that there be a change in the Government’s

systems so that before any legislation affecting property is passed there is an “impact review” plus serious consultation with interested parties such as ourselves. If such a procedure had been adopted in the past, much of the legislation that has been brought in, without thought to the effect on millions of people who live in flats and on estates, would have been so much more effective and suitable for the sector.

In making this request we are not asking for the Government to change its basic

policies, only that it applies those policies more carefully so that our members are not inadvertently adversely affected and faced with huge unnecessary expenditure and effort without consultation or benefit.

We hope you will regard this suggestion favourably. We are sending copies of this

letter to the leaders of the other parties hoping that they will be in agreement. John Peartree of the FPRA

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