Although the consultation is entitled “Tackling unfair practices in the leasehold market” there is a section devoted to private estate charges. The government are not offering much, simply the right to go to the first tier lands tribunal for service charge disputes. On the face of it, not much to get excited about, especially as we know how expensive this can be for leaseholders who can use it already.
Look at it another way and it is the first glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. It is an admission that the government DO know about this and the associated problems. Huge thanks to all HorNets who have lobbied for this for years.
HorNet will be doing an official response to the consultation, but we also urge you all to complete one as well as individuals.
You could say that if the government really wanted similar rights for freeholders, they would also grant the right to manage, regulate for costs information to be shared, cap the percentage of fees payable for management and accounting, and allow the courts to limit the size of legal costs which can be charged back to home owners. In other words all of the rights that leaseholders are given. In addition the Law of Property Act 1925, Section 121 which allows for a statutory lease to be taken out on a freehold property if the rent charge is not paid, should be repealed.
Or equally you could say that nothing short of a complete overhaul of land and property law will put paid to all unfair practices. This is what is really needed.
Here is the link to the consultation which can be done on line.
The Leasehold Knowledge Partnership is doing a survey to collect data fro their response to the consultation, it is quite short and simple, and again has a section for freeholders/private estates. Please do this one as well – the louder our voice the better. Access it here.
These both need to be completed in September, the LKP survey by 12th, and the government consultation by 19th.