The Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners’ (ALEP) Annual Conference saw a record-breaking 280 sector influencers attend the event.
Held at No 11 Cavendish Square and hosted by ALEP Honorary President, Damian Greenish, the Conference tackled issues impacting professionals in the leasehold enfranchisement sector with Commonhold and regional relativity emerging as topical themes of the day.
Mark Chick, ALEP Director, said: “The ALEP Conference is one of the sector’s biggest events where delegates expect debate on timely, pertinent topics. The sector is facing its biggest changes yet, and the ALEP Conference provides a platform for speakers and professionals to voice opinions, concerns and ideas. Yesterday’s event was no exception.”
As the sector awaits the Law Commission’s final report on its Commonhold consultation, barrister Nicola Muir delivered an apt presentation on how Commonhold could work in practice and provided delegates with examples of issues that may need to be overcome should it be considered as a viable option for the future. Nicola acknowledges that “getting rid of a regime that’s been in place for 1,000s of years would not be easy”, but she argued that Commonhold and its regulations could indeed provide a comprehensive regime for owners in the same block, but pointed out that time-old issues such as repairs, neighbour disputes and the like would remain whatever system was in place.
As the last year has been an eventful one for the sector, three workshops ran simultaneously during the afternoon session. Designed to suit the range of attendees from solicitors to valuers, the workshops examined a View from the Regions; Notices of Claim delivered by Katherine Simpson and Valuation of Intermediate Leases presented by chartered surveyor Jennifer Ellis.
The View from the Regions seminar was another subject undergoing intense scrutiny. Delegates saw two perspectives from Mark Loveday of Tanfield Chambers and Sarah Abel of Lawrence and Wightman. The duo examined relativity in and outside of Prime Central London (PCL), as the recent leasehold scandal highlighted the issue, and it was interesting to note the tangible differences in practices in areas outside of London. Sarah’s point “location is the most significant driver of value and areas outside PCL are different” sparked debate and conversation from delegates serving both regional and PCL markets about the challenges faced.
Further workshop-style sessions saw Damian Greenish present on ‘valuation for lawyers’, Katherine Simpson on ‘leasehold law for valuers' followed by Katherine teaming up with surveyor Michael Tibbatts to deliver a practical tips-based session on how solicitors and valuers can work in harmony with one another to deliver the best result for the client.
Barrister Piers Harrison and chartered surveyor Peter Beckett Back challenged how to value onerous ground rents and back by popular demand was James Culley who delivered an update on Knight Frank’s relativity graph.
ALEP Director, John Midgley took to the stage to update delegates on ALEP’s work over the last year, consultations and events. He also shared with attendees a recent letter written to ALEP by Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Esther McVey who wrote to acknowledge ALEP’s valuable work within the sector and its contribution to consultations.
In true ALEP Conference-style, the day was ended with Philip Rainey QC of Tanfield Chambers who delved into recent case updates including the notable LM Homes Ltd v Queen Court Freehold Company Ltd.
Mark Chick concluded: “ALEP is about best practice and sector-wide education and it was clear from debate at the Conference that there is demand from our membership to explore important topics such as regional relativity in more detail – watch this space!”