LEASE, the Leasehold Advisory Service, is a taxpayer-funded quango, so why on earth is it asking solicitors and others whether they would be prepared to pay referral fees to be put in touch with the distressed ordinary leaseholders who call up for advice?
Referral fees – or ‘bungs’ as they are less politely termed – are rife in the property world, but it is astonishing that a government agency considered accepting them.
LEASE says it does not accept referral fees, nor will it do so in the future.
Had it done so, LEASE would have been handing over leaseholders with serious legal or other problems to solicitors, managing agents, surveyors etc not because these firms have any particular merit, but because they had made a payment to the advisory service.
The evidence that LEASE was considering referral fees comes in the form of an emailed survey following the lavish ‘annual conference’ the quango held at a Mayfair hotel on May 15.