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NEWSLETTER


ISSUE No.107 Winter 2013


CRIMINAL CHARGES CALLED FOR AT AGM by the Editor


Criminal proceedings must be brought against those using leasehold to carry on outright fraud, Sir Peter Bottomley told FPRA’s AGM.


A well-attended AGM heard a swashbuckling speech by Sir Peter condemn price-fixing cartels, cheating freeholders, exit fee fiddles, opportunist lawyers playing the system, and feeble judicial intervention.


“I predict serious criminal charges,” Sir Peter told the packed hall.


Sir Peter, who has been a Conservative MP since 1975 (representing Worthing West since 1997), and is a former junior Government minister, is well known for his mission to change leasehold property law.


This was Sir Peter’s blueprint:


• Commonhold should be adopted. • Forfeiture of leases should end (he cited an astonishing case of a leaseholder who came within a hair’s breadth of losing his £800,000 flat in a closed court from which the public were thrown out).


• Lawyers and other leasehold professionals who play the system – bludgeoning leaseholders into line with terrifying legal costs – should be named and shamed.


• An end to lawyers delaying right-to-manage on frivolous grounds, such as not having the letters “RTM” in their title.


• An end to barristers’ favoured wheeze with lay applicants of dumping a massive submission on the day of the hearing.


• Bring on criminal proceedings against those using leasehold to carry on outright fraud.


• Publicly expose price-fixing cartels that have cheated pensioners of thousands of pounds, rather than allow the authorities to make cosy, confidential deals which means the wrong- doing is not exposed in court and punished.


Sir Peter was applauded when, in answer to questions from the floor, he demanded managing agencies reveal any links to freeholders and declare all insurance commissions and other paybacks.


He paid tribute to the efforts of FPRA and urged leaseholders to put pressure on their MPs.


(The full speech can be seen on a link on our website).


HEROIC JUDGE


The AGM welcomed Judge Tim Powell, London Regional Judge, Residential Property Tribunal.


The judge explained the workings of the new First Tier Tribunal (FTT), which replaced the old Leasehold Valuation Tribunal on July 1 this year. He said they had stronger powers to enforce and aimed to operate without delay and with clarity.


He recommended the new, free of charge, London mediation service, which he said was showing excellent results, with 66 per cent success rate at the moment and up to 74 per cent previously.


Heroic judge Powell made himself available to answer questions from the floor for a whole 90 minutes after the speeches, which was greatly appreciated.


(The judge’s speech is available to view in full in a link on our website).


MANAGING AGENTS


Also addressing the AGM was Michelle Banks, chief executive of ARMA (the Association of Residential Managing Agents) who spoke about her association’s new regime for self-regulation of managing agents, ARMA-Q. The “Q”, she said, stood for quality.


Continued on page two


INSIDE THIS ISSUE Investigation into Leasehold


Leaseholder Opinions Ask the FPRA Special


– Buying the Freehold Legal Jottings


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