Justin Madders MP has asked the Secretary of State at the DCLG Sajid Javid to ensure that the chairman of the Leasehold Advisory Service has “no business interests in the leasehold sector”.
He has also asked that at least one member of the LEASE board be “an independent representative of leaseholders”.
The written parliamentary questions posed earlier this week directly address the question of the continued tenure of property manager Roger Southam.
Mr Southam, who sold his management company Chainbow to Savills last year, has been a controversial figure at the taxpayer-funded organisation.
LKP revealed that Chainbow owned embedded management companies in leases at Taylor Wimpey London sites.
This meant the leaseholders would not be able to remove Chainbow, and they were told by both Taylor Wimpey and Mr Southam that the companies were nothing to do with them.
The leaseholders were reluctant to approach the Leasehold Advisory Service because the owner of their management company was also the chairman of the quango.
LKP made a formal complaint about Mr Southam’s conflicted role, but this was rejected by DCLG civil servants.
Mr Southam was “appointed on merit” and “LEASE is totally separate from his private business”, the DCLG said.
In January the application to the LEASE board of LKP trustee Sebastian O’Kelly was rejected at the first hurdle because he did not apply with a full covering letter, he was informed.
Earlier this week the National Leasehold Campaign, a Facebook group of more than 1,300 members, demanded the replacement of Mr Southam as chairman and the appointment of Mr O’Kelly.
Mr Southam’s Chainbow company pledged to “maximise ground rent opportunities” – just the issue that has mobilised infuriated leasehold homeowners where onerous ground rents often double every ten years.
DCLG rejects complaint over LEASE chair Roger Southam, who pledged to ‘maximise ground rent opportunities’ for freeholders