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NEWSLETTER


ISSUE No. 102 Autumn 2012


FPRA AND MPs WELCOME PROPOSALS TO END THE ‘LEGAL TORTURE’ OF FLAT OWNERS


FPRA is delighted with the support given by senior MPs from all parties following the publication of the report New Lease of Life by the think tank Centre Forum.


Conservative Peer Baroness Gardner of Parkes took up the FPRA campaign calling on the Coalition Government to introduce a minimum standard for private sector property management for blocks of flats and protection for leaseholder’s service charge monies. MPs who have welcomed the report and who support reform of leasehold are Mark Field (Westminster and the City, Conservative); Barry Gardiner Brent North, Labour); Simon Hughes, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader and MP for Southwark and Bermondsey, and Sir Peter Bottomley, who described the leasehold sector as ‘legal torture’ following a recent LVT case in his Worthing West constituency Centre Forum concludes: “The evidence in this paper supports the overwhelming view of those working in the leasehold sector that regulation of managing agents is urgently needed. By introducing an independent regulator, the Government could lever the interests of leaseholders into the management process and ensure that they all have greater access to redress. In the longer term, direct leasehold empowerment should be promoted through commonhold and RTM. The case studies included in this report show just how serious the shortcomings of the current leasehold system can be. In many ways, these are just the tip of the iceberg because the most vulnerable leaseholders often cannot even get a case to a tribunal. Moreover, in many of the most serious cases, freeholders settle outside the LVT in an effort to avoid negative publicity. It is essential that the Government addresses this problem. Cases taken to LVTs have increased by 400 per cent in the past decade, and problems with connected companies have become increasingly rife. Moreover, the number of leasehold properties will increase significantly in the coming years, precisely because of other


government policies – both the right-to-buy and the housing strategy to increase the supply of homes. The Government must therefore seek to integrate policy so that reform of the leasehold system and promotion of commonhold and RTM are pursued alongside the development of new houses.”


FPRA Chairman Bob Smytherman said: “This report shines a light on the Coalition Government’s current policy to rely on self- regulation, which has resulted in a very patchy level of service to us flat owners, with the sector relying heavily on vested interests. There are however some excellent property managers and managing agents who provide excellent customer service and therefore the FPRA will work constructively with ARMA (Association of Residential Property Managing Agents) and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to raise standards across residential leasehold Continued on page 2


AGM 2012


This year’s AGM takes place on 8th November. See back page for more details.


INSIDE THIS ISSUE Legalised bribery


Flats and the Green Deal Parking Appeals Service Ask the FPRA Dispute resolution Legal jottings


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