Prompted by an invitation by Housing Minister Grant Shapps, three representatives of Leasehold Knowledge Partnership had a positive meeting with the Department of Communities and Local Government today.
The department was eager to learn more about LKP and its fast-growing accreditation scheme.
The meeting dwelt at length on the origins of LKP and why such an organization is necessary.
The department was reminded of the massive LVT settlements at prime London riverside developments, and strong criticisms of the freeholders who appoint themselves as managing agents, insurance brokers, CCTV providers and the rest.
The predatory charges at retirement developments that Campaign against Residential Leasehold Exploitation made into a national scandal were referred to and the department was reminded of the London Assembly’s hard-hitting report Highly Charged.
Shapps is reportedly in touch with the LA and wants to meet for talks about this.
Developers are distancing themselves from the familiar offenders – big managing agents who were handed out vast numbers of leasehold units to manage during the boom years, and lost no opportunity to load service charges, insurance commissions and numerous other extras.
LKP made clear its views on the feeble codes of practice of trade bodies such as ARMA or RICS. The former has been particularly craven by declining to name a single managing agent who has been expelled from the organization over the past 10 years for malpractice – rather than simply for failing to pay its ARMA subs.
The consumer-driven approach of LKP was made clear.
It was accepted that LKP would be consulted along with the trade bodies in future discussions of leasehold issues.
The department argued that the record sums paid to London riverside leaseholders may indicate that the present system functions. But all the actions here have cost tens of thousands of pounds and have involved highly successful professional residents living in owner-occupied blocks.
The young homeowner, probably living in a block with many rental properties, is extremely vulnerable and most simply sell up and leave a block where rip-off practices prevail.