She claims we walked off in a huff because we were not invited on to her steering group (which we don’t approve of anyway)
Baroness Dianne Hayter, the Labour deputy leader in the Lords who is chairing a sector-driven initiative to produce a new code of practice for property agents, has criticised the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership for not taking part.
She told attendees to an all-day seminar of the Institute of Residential Property Managers two days ago that LKP was “upset” at not being invited to join the group and had “sort of taken their bat home and refused to engage”.
This is untrue.
Following Lord Richard Best’s review of the Regulation of Property Agents, civil servants were to oversee regulation of estate agents, letting agents and block managers as there is a long record of failure by the trade bodies (see below).
Indeed, civil servants have repeatedly emphasised that this initiative, led by RICS and the Property Ombudsman, which is a commercial company, is not an official body to any degree.
Two months before declining to be involved, LKP publicly made its views apparent here:
LKP’s decision to decline to take part in this initiative, has been echoed by the Federation of Private Residents’ Associations – which has termed it “spurious” – and by the National Leasehold Campaign (“Trust from leaseholders has been lost”).
On September 7 we informed Baroness Dianne Hayter, who has told LKP that her chairmanship is unremunerated:
“We deprecate that this is a non-government initiative. Instead, the property trade bodies appear to be attempting to present ready-formed codes of practice to government for rubber-stamping.
“We have seen with the unfailing failings of self-regulation in block management, whether of RICS or ARMA or ARHM, that it does not work …
“We need statutory regulation and protection of leaseholders funds, and it is not for the trade bodies to control the agenda of how this is done.
“Your invitation arrived in the same week [September 3] that the Competition and Markets Authority takes enforcement action against plc house builders, in yet another example – were it needed – that the monetisers in residential property cannot mark their own homework and that consumers need robust, statutory protections.”
At the IRPM seminar two days ago, Baroness Dianne Hayter offered a different explanation.
Describing herself as a “consumer representative” and the owner of a leasehold property, Baroness Dianne Hayter said:
“The sector needs to be regulated for the old fashioned reasons that this market does not work for consumers. They don’t have the knowledge, the experience, the frequency of use, the comparators, the ability to shop around or, indeed, the choice to produce a functioning market.”
She welcomed Lord Richard Best’s report, but said that it was “on the back-burner because of Covid”, so RICS and the Property Ombudsman decided to step in by providing a code during this “dormant period”.
“We have experienced consumer champions involved but not one group that I think you will all be familiar with, the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership.
“Sadly, they were so upset at not being invited to the really quite small over-arching steering group, whose remit encompasses the whole field of residential property of which leasehold is only a part, that they have sort of taken their bat home and refused even to engage on the work of the sub code specific to their bailiwick, the block management code.
“Now I am really sad about this. I would have enormously valued their input and not simply because I am a leaseholder, but because of their experience and reputation. But that was their choice. I hope that they will rethink and as our work continues they will engage and help us to provide something of genuine assistance to leaseholders.”
Baroness Dianne Hayter said the work to produce a code of practice did involve Generation Rent, Which, The Property Ombudsman Consumers’ Forum and Shelter.
She said the code of practice would go further than urging property managers to obey the law, and the word “must” would be used not “should” in the code.
It was surprising for LKP to be singled out for quite prolonged, point-scoring criticism at the IRPM seminar.
Here are some reasons why we don’t think the trade bodies should mark their own homework by setting the agenda for a new code of practice:
Here’s RICS disciplinary fiasco over Benjamin Mire and 300 others:
Here’s former Labour minister Sally Keeble walking out as ARMA’s regulator:
And Sally Keeble also wrote an article for the LKP website explaining why self-regulation does not work:
And here’s ARHM feeble response to the OFT finding of a bid-rigging racket by Peverel’s subsidiary Cirrus:
ARHM STATEMENT INTO PEVEREL PRICE FIXING / COLLUSION FOLLOWING INVESTIGATION BY FORMER OFT. Starts The ARHM Audit and Regulation Committee has been working with Peverel to review the outcome of the OFT investigation into collusive tendering in relation to the supply and installation of certain access and alarm systems to retirement properties.