LKP told the BBC R4 You and Yours consumer affairs programme today that professional self-regulation by property managers does not work.
This was why former Labour minister Sally Keeble resigned as the ARMA regulator – a role that has been scrapped.
In part this is an economy measure, as the organisation was also beset with legal costs leaving a £160,000 hole in the accounts after an ARMA member disputed the regulatory regime.
You and Yours ran an interview with leaseholders at Blythe Court, facing £8,000 a year ground rents thanks to leasehold gameplayer Martin Paine (who was not named by the BBC).
Sebastian O’Kelly, trustee of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, told You and Yours presenter Winifred Robinson:
“Billions of pounds of other people’s money – money belonging to leaseholders – are looked after by people under no supervision whatsoever.
“You could literally set up as a managing agent tomorrow.
“As Sajid Javid said you just need to put on a suit and print some business cards.
“Then you could be looking after hundreds of thousands of pounds of contingency funds that belongs to other people.
“But regulations will not change the fundamental problem of leasehold, unique to England and Wales, which is that you have this third party landlord, the freeholder.
“It is he would appoints the managing agent. It is he who, ultimately, looks after the service charge money and the contingency funds.
“Everywhere else in the world such as continental Europe or North America or Australia the residents themselves employ a professional to look after their money and sack them if they don’t do a good job.
“For some reason this is regarded as anomalous in England and Wales, and it is completely wrong.
“There are a few sites that self-manage and Sajid Javid spoke today about improving right to manage [the process by which leaseholders take over control of a block of flats].
“But he was very strong on criticising the leasehold property management business. He referred to cowboys. He referred to people charging for a five-star service and providing a
Rackman budget version.
“It is a complete money spinner. And you are completely at the mercy of these people.
Affluent freehold-owning couple’s lease terms bring ruin to families who bought flats that are virtually worthless
“Your example of Blythe Court could not be a more egregious example of ordinary flat owners just trying to go about their normal lives being right royally legged over.
“We will being saying that the government must now protect these funds. It is ridiculous to try to pretend that self-regulation by these professionals, whether in ARMA or RICS, can work.
“You have just had a former Labour minister Sally Keeble resign as the regulator of one of these organisations saying it does not work.
“It really does need government to protect this money. There is a lot of it.”
ARMA regulator Sally Keeble quit ‘after being blocked’ from ruling on Warwick Estates lift shaft fatality
I welcome the 6 week review of property management that has been called for by The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP. I for one shall certainly be cooperating and “Providing Evidence” as to why Managing Agents should be Strictly Regulated.
It is a scandal that the spivs working in residential property have been allowed to bully, threaten and bleed dry leaseholders. Incidentally,it is my fervent belief that a LARGE MAJORITY of Managing Agents are venal crooks.
To clarify , I reiterate that I believe a “LARGE MAJORITY ” of Managing Agents commit acts of criminality with absolute impunity- I am quite sure that any evidence provided will show The Rt Hon Sajid Javid just how commonplace this nefariousness is.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
Well said by Roger Robinson and Sebastian on R4. Keep it up!
Let’s hope the government will also stop non-consensual sales of freeholds. The pass-the-parcel game is evident again in R Robinson’s interview.
And freehold or commonhold ‘tenure’? Seems to me the best part of the Scottish legislation in 2000 was to change ‘tenure’ to ‘ownership’. Should the LKP review use of the word ‘tenure’ in the APPG proposals?
It is clear from reading LKP articles and discussions that buyers find the notion of tenure offensive: Tenure implies tenant, thereby landlord, thereby ‘feudal’ or archaic means of exploitation.
Modern buyers expect and deserve to be owners, not tenants.
Goodness me, I have just completed the online 6 wk review. What utterly turgid questions!! I Shall also be writing a paper detailing my own experience of a certain managing agent and will provide clear evidence of wrongdoing making it clear that these acts are commonplace in Residential property management.
Kim I agree.
I am losing yet more precious brain cells and life moments sitting trawling through this new ‘call for evidence’.
Luckily, I throw nothing away even after 20 years!
I am not naming the miscreants without prior indemnity from the government, but I am providing redacted extracts of documents.
BUT WHAT IS THE POINT?
I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, so maybe there is some legal need to keep issuing ‘calls for evidence’ to avoid judicial review? The Opposition spokesperson didn’t seem to think another period of waiting was needed.
The government KNOW the history. They don’t ask for empirical evidence anyway. Just more opinions.
It is all opinions. Not facts.
The scammers and fleecers will never hold their hands up.
Telling ANY managing agent they are ‘the good guys’ without factual evidence is sickening to observe.
I don’t believe it is sugar soaping. It is intentional to defend English leasehold. Too many fat fingers in the purse.
There is no reason for this six week exercise.
None at all.
Not a single excuse.
Sigh, back to the word processor. I won’t get these hours back. I know I am wasting them…
do send them again. I have send mine in – its nothing they don’t already know. Remember that article from conservative home? https://www.conservativehome.com/thecolumnists/2017/08/christopher-howarth-its-time-to-end-the-great-leasehold-service-charge-rip-off.html
They’ve known about it for a while, tribunals and all are collaborators, propping up a system thats fundamentally corrupt..
Managing agents to self regulate, PLEASE- have any of these government people eve,r even met, a managing agent? its like putting Jimmy Savile in charge to self regulate the pedos.
Javid’s call for evidence link. What more evidence does the man need about agents overcharging which includes choosing the highest building insurance premiums in order to be paid the highest commission kickbacks. There is no redress in law because it’s another legal rip off.
The appointment of an inexperienced non entity Alok Sharma as Housing Minister shows how cynical this government is about helping consumers. Housing not a Cabinet post and Javid calling for review after review…
I agree with you the questions were a means of avoidance. How would you regulate the unregulable? What is best practice so we can ignore it? How can we improve standards so we can continue fleecing you?
yes – do waste your time telling me about best practice, so we can continue as we are. they pretend they don’t know about dodgy solicitors, beneficial owners, off shore, conflict of interest….
The aegean stables need something powerful – delicately sweeping about a feather duster aint gonna clean the s***.
latest from the guardian – support the guardian everyone and share the link. https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/oct/21/rent-leasehold-fees-service-charges-control-government?CMP=share_btn_link
the more awareness better chances of meaningful change.