LATEST: UK’s 4.1m leaseholders urged to have their say in national survey…
The UK’s first ever independent national survey of the country’s 4.1million leaseholders is set to shape the future landscape of the leasehold property sector by providing government and regulators with unprecedented insight into what needs to be done to support the vital role of the residential property management sector in meeting the growing demand for new housing stock.
Launched today (11th January 2016), the ground-breaking survey has been developed by LEASE, the Government’s arms’ length body for the leasehold property sector, and property law firm Brady Solicitors, with the aim of assessing levels of satisfaction amongst the UK’s leaseholders and residents management company (RMC) directors. It is live online www.bradysolicitors.com/survey2016 until the 31 March.
According to data from LEASE, 7% of the UK’s 4.1 million leaseholders are in the West Midlands.
“Leasehold properties are being built at a rate of close to 120,000 per year,” explains Roger Southam, Non-Exec Chairman of LEASE, “yet there is no definitive understanding of what is desired – both in terms of the build of the property and the management services that are subsequently provided.
“We are urging all leaseholders, and the RMC directors that represent them, to have their say by taking part in this unique and important piece of research into the leasehold sector in England and Wales. “
According to LEASE, the research will provide unprecedented clarity of the real experiences, challenges and trends of UK leaseholders of owning and living in a leasehold property, as Roger Southam explains: “The survey’s findings will complete the leasehold property jigsaw by providing solidity of information in an area that has previously relied on anecdotal information and small-scale surveys. For the first time the sector will have a clear indication of satisfaction levels across key areas such as service charge levels, service provision, and awareness of rights and responsibilities.
“The research will provide valuable information for government ministers, and the industry’s regulatory bodies, and, importantly, will help the sector’s service providers, the managing agents, to understand how and where they need to improve, whilst assisting leaseholders to better understand their rights and responsibilities towards both their property and their fellow leaseholders.”
Of the 4.1 million leaseholders across the UK, LEASE estimates approximately 27% are in London, 22% in the North West, 14% in the South East, 7% in the South West, 7% in Yorkshire & Humber, 6% in the East, 4% in the North East and 3 % in both the East Midlands and Wales.
Brady Solicitors has a UK-wide client base of property management companies, commercial landlords, surveyors, property developers and residents’ associations. Its MD Clare Brady says: “Our work within the residential property management sector demonstrates there are many exceptionally well managed blocks and estates, with excellent leaseholder / landlord communications. This is particularly so when the managing agent is a member of the Association of Residential Managing Agents, the Association of Residential Letting Agents, or the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
“However, the frequency and sheer volume of disputes over service charges and property management matters suggest there are many areas where improvements can still be made – not just in the provision of services, but also by ensuring leaseholders have a clear understanding of their rights and responsibilities.
“Working alongside LEASE, we hope that through this research, we can help leaseholders and the companies that manage their properties, to work better together and ensure the leasehold sector can be a successful source of new homes for the UK’s growing population.”
Roger Southam adds: “The UK needs more homes. If we want the leasehold sector to play a part in this provision then it’s essential we understand what leaseholders want. This is an important piece of research that will play a pivotal role in achieving this aim, and which can guide government policy and inform property developers and service providers within the leasehold sector.”
The survey will be open until 31 March 2016 and can be accessed here www.bradysolicitors.com/survey2016. The full findings will be presented by 31 May 2016. All responses will be strictly confidential and anonymised when received, to produce a report reflecting satisfaction levels and challenges faced by RMC directors and leaseholders.
The size and scale of the growing residential property management sector has made it an area of government focus in recent years. The Competition and Markets Authority published a market study* into the sector in December 2014, with recommendations for improvements into the supply of residential property management services announced as part of the Budget Statement on 18th March 2015. These included a commitment to improve the provision of information and awareness of leaseholder obligations ahead of purchase, updates to the statutory codes of conduct; a review of the major works consultation procedures and thresholds; to set-up a cross-sector working group to consider legislative and non-legislative proposals for leaseholders; to assist with the facilitation of recommendations to local authorities and housing associations; and to work with MoJ to investigate ways of improving redress.
*For more information on the Government’s response to the residential property management services market study, see: https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases/residential-property-management-services
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