Monday, 20 February 2017

Landlords urged to be more open with leaseholders

Private property management associations should work with social landlords to improve the way they consult about leasehold service charges in London.

That is one of a number of recommendations in a report published today by the London Assembly’s planning and housing committee.

The report, Highly charged, suggests ways transparency of service charges can be improved to prevent leaseholders being hit by unexpected bills.

It estimates Londoners pay £500 million a year in service charges.

Assembly member Steve O’Connell, in a foreword to the report, says: ‘While many express dissatisfaction with aspects of the system, and a few allege malpractice, others offer harrowing accounts from ordinary people, with limited financial means, that have received bills for tens of thousands of pounds for unexpected works.

‘When buying leasehold property many people are not aware of the rights and obligations that come with this form of tenure and so for many the complexity of the service charge regime comes as a shock.’

The report recommends that the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, the Association of Residential Managing Agents and the Association of Retirement Housing Managers should review if the effective guidance on service charges is being implemented.

It says if necessary the private sector should work with the ‘best performing’ social landlords to adopt best practice on guidance.

Key recommendations

  • The mayor of London takes into account the financial effect on leaseholders when granting funding for housing improvements
  • The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal provides more mediation and advice to resolve disputes and review how its rulings are enforced
  • The government reviews barriers to right to manage in London
  • The government reviews whether it is possible to make mediation a compulsory first step in the dispute resolution process.

Readers' comments (9)

Comments are only open to subscribers of Inside Housing

Already a subscriber?

If you’re already a subscriber to Inside Housing, your subscription may not be linked to your online account. You can link your subscription from within the My Account section of the website and clicking on Link My Account.

Not yet a subscriber?

If you don't yet subscribe to Inside Housing, please visit our subscription page to view our various subscription packages.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register


Newsletter Sign-up



  • Bidding open for government's affordable housing programme

    5 January 2017

    The government has opened the bidding process for its beefed-up affordable housing programme, with the majority of funding still expected to deliver homeownership products.

  • The leaseholders are coming

    24 October 2016

    The Right to Buy has changed the way councils manage estates and the Voluntary Right to Buy will change how housing associations manage their homes, says Kate Davies

  • Lincolnshire landlords open merger talks

    7 October 2016

    Two Lincolnshire stock transfer housing associations have opened talks about merging to create a 12,800-home landlord.

  • Hyde Group 'still open to mergers'

    23 August 2016

    Hyde Group is still open to merging with other landlords, despite pulling out of plans to form a 135,000-home group with L Q and East Thames last month.

  • Voting now open in Rising Stars

    19 April 2016

    Voting is now open in this year’s Rising Stars competition organised by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and Inside Housing.

IH Subscription