Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has followed up his plans to make the property management industry fairer for tenants.
He has already announced proposals to regulate letting agents, appoint a tenant ombudsman to make dealing with complaints fairer and easier and to ban upfront letting agent fees for tenants.
Now, he wants to know if leaseholds are managed fairly by agents and if he should regulate them as well.
Javid claimed he had anecdotal evidence of poor property management but wants tenants and landlords to come forward with more details of the way agents deal with them.
His examples included:
- Leaseholders charged 10 times the market rate to have a new fire escape fitted – with the £30,000 contract handed to the freeholder’s brother
A landlord charged £500 by his agent for repairing a shower door
- A London-based property agent who tried to charge a leaseholder almost £5,000 to transfer ownership of a parking space to other leaseholders
“This is supposed to be the age of the empowered consumer – yet in property management, we’re still living in the past,” said the secretary.
“We are showing our determination to give power back to consumers so they have the service they expect and deserve, as part of my drive to deliver transparency and fairness for the growing number of renters and leaseholders.
“Our proposed changes to regulate the industry will give landlords, renters and leaseholders the confidence they need to know that their agents must comply with the rules.”
The government estimates between £700 million and £1.4 billion a year are spent on unnecessary leasehold charges and rented property repairs.
If the new laws are passed, all letting and management agents in England face regulation.