October 23, 2018

Minister holds roundtable talks on leasehold

Mark_PriskHousing Minister Mark Prisk (left) is holding an hour-long roundtable discussion on residential leasehold tomorrow.

The meeting is to be attended by trade body representatives such as Michelle Banks, of ARMA – a former civil servant at the Department of Communities and Local Government – RICS, and the Association of Retirement Housing Managers (ARHM). Representatives of the Ministry of Justice will attend, as well the two DCLG civil servants who handle leasehold issues.

Also attending will be Sir Peter Bottomley, MP for Worthing West, who has an interest in  abuses, and barrister Stephanie Smith, who took on the case at no charge of the “legal torture” pensioners at Oakland Court, Worthing.

Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation / Leasehold Knowledge Partnership will be attending as an observer.

Both ARMA and ARHM have revised their codes of practice, which are now out for public consultation. Keith Hill, former Labour MP and an ex-Housing Minister, who is the new ARMA Regulator, will also be attending the meeting.

The agenda for the meeting is:

Item 1:
Service quality
Service charges, transparency and safeguards
Conduct of agents and quality of management
Consultation
Buildings insurance, commission and the impact on leaseholders’ bills

Item 2:
Leaseholders and the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT)
LVT processes and leaseholders’ experience of going to a tribunal
Seeking recognition as a Tenants’ Association (at a Rent Assessment Panel)

Item 3:
Leaseholders’ scope to take more control of their property
Acquiring the statutory “Right to Manage” (including new-build developments)

Item 4:
Retirement leasehold
Updating the Association of Retirement Housing Managers (ARHM) Code of Practice on retirement leasehold
The recent OFT Report on “exit fees”.

Comments

  1. I hope and prey that Mr Mark Prisk is listening and will at last deliver what the think tank CentreForum has been asking for: an ombudsman paid for by a leaseholders levy.

  2. Extra Item for agenda :

    Forfeiture of leasehold flat valued at 800K for a service charge dispute valued at 9K. Forfeiture was suitable 800 year ago when the premium for the lease was a cow and 2 pigs. The current starting point at 350 pounds for commencing forfeiture proceedings has no place in the 21st Century UK..
    The right of forfeiture should be abolished and treated as a “debt arrears” to be claimed in the County Court or Small Claims Court.

  3. Second extra item:

    The OFT has declared “buildings insurance cover placed by the landlord for maximising commission” to be an unfair contract term and LVT should be served notice by the Housing Minister not to treat insurance policies imposed by the landlord as reasonable. All SFA registered insurance brokers offering commission to Landlords or their agents will be charged under the Fraud Act.

  4. Lesley Newnham says:

    Somehow an ‘hour long’ discussion on residential leasehold seems like a mere gesture to try and pacify us. If Mark Prisk really wants to know about the problems within leasehold an HOUR on each subject within the agenda would not be enough!!

    ARMA and ARHM revising their codes of practice is also of little use unless they intend to abide by them.

    I sincerely hope my cynicism is misplaced but having spent 14 years trying to get someone to listen fills me with doubt.

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