The Conveyancing Association is calling for a number of regulatory changes for agents in the leasehold sector and coupled with increased resources for Trading Standards.
The trade body said there were a number of issues within the leasehold market that need to be addressed. These issues include unreasonable fees charged by lease administrators, duplication of charging, the ‘invention’ of additional services and significant delays in the provision of services by lease administrators.
Beth Rudolf, director of delivery at the Conveyancing Association, said: “This area has been a major concern for the CA for some time and our response seeks to ensure that the growing costs and delays that are a seemingly ‘natural’ part of dealing with certain lease administrators are no longer deemed acceptable.
“We have always encouraged our members to educate leaseadministrators using template letters explaining the legal obligations and case law around unreasonable fees but our data shows that the situation has in fact got worse.
With that in mind the association is calling for the wholesale regulation of lease administrator that undertake charged-for services, or have access to client money or property.
It wants this regulation to also include management companies as well as property managers, landlords, freeholders, estate rent charge owners, right to manage management companies, tenant associations and commonhold associations given that reserve funds within these schemes which can grow to many thousands of pounds and need to be protected.
Rudolf added: “Regulation seems to be the only way of achieving solid consumer protection in a scenario where the payer of the service is not the contracting party for the service. The fact that the industry, including the managing agents, have been calling for regulation themselves is compelling and we believe now is certainly the time for action to be taken.”
The CA made its call following the launch of Department of Communities and Local Government call for evidence on whether a new regulatory model is needed for agents in the leasehold sector.