Today both Housing Minister Grant Shapps and Siobhan McGrath, the senior barrister who presides over the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal system, face the cameras as part of the Channel Four Dispatches documentary into leasehold.
The programme will be shown on August 20. A second Dispatches programme on retirement leasehold is also nearing completition, although it has not been scheduled a date for broadcast. The following week, August 27, has been suggested, however.
Leasehold Knowledge Partnership have assisted the programmes, as has the Charter Quay Residents’ Association.
Coinciding with the August 20 documentary is the publication of the liberal centre think tank CentreForum’s study of leasehold. It urges an independent regulator for leasehold property management and reform of the LVTs, which are weighted in favour of well resourced landlords and their lawyers.
It urges the more widespread promotion of the right to manage process, and commonhold as a substitute for leasehold property tenure.
After three years – and much fudging – the Office of Fair Trading investigation into exit fees will be announced between August 20-30. It is promised to be a “substantive announcement”.
Housing Minister Grant Shapps has referrred to the inquiry in letters to Justice Minister Ken Clarke as evidence that the government is taking seriously issues concerning leasehold reform.
Exit fees in retirement developments are generally two per cent: one per cent for the contingency fund and one per cent to verify that the incoming new owner can cope with independent retirement living.
Throughout the retirement sector this verification has been widely ignored, although the fees have still been assiduously collected.