Better leasehold education and improvements on how managing agents communicate with leaseholders are urgently required if the sector is to provide a long-term solution to the UK’s housing needs.
Those are the findings of the first-ever independent national survey of the sector.
With two-thirds (65%) of leaseholders taking part in the survey saying they would welcome more information on their rights, options and obligations, policymakers have been given a clear indication that improvements are needed.
The survey has made a number of alarming discoveries – the vast majority (68%) of leaseholders have little or no confidence in the ability of their managing agent to deal with a problem or dispute, with just 6% being ‘very confident’.
Poor communication between managing agents and leaseholders is a real threat to enjoyment of a leasehold property, according to the survey, a problem exacerbated when the lack of clarity and information creates mistrust.
The survey also identified one of the biggest challenges facing the sector is finding leaseholders willing to take on the role of RMC director.
Directors say better training and education are needed to help them up-skill, provide relevant support and fulfil the role.
More than 60% of RMC directors say the role takes up significantly more time than expected, and that a strong and wide skill-set beyond legal and company expertise is necessary.
The National Leasehold Survey is the UK’s first ever independent national survey of the UK’s leaseholders.
Developed by LEASE, the government’s arm’s-length body for the leasehold property sector, and property law firm Brady Solicitors, it received more than 1,200 responses.
Clare Brady, MD of Brady Solicitors, says: “This lack of leasehold knowledge, including understanding how to replace a poorly performing management company, underpins many of the reported problems.
“It also represents a vast opportunity for the UK’s leasehold sector, including its policymakers, to bring about future change – but whose job is it to educate and up-skill our leaseholders and managing agents? Is it the public sector, private sector or the conveyancer at the start of the process?”
“Whilst there are many strong views and some difficult stories to read, including leaseholders saying they feel ‘trapped’ in their home and that they believe the ‘system is broken’, the research also uncovered many clear examples of property management at its best,” adds Clare.
KEY SURVEY RESULTS:
57% of leaseholders regret buying a leasehold property.
Two-thirds of leaseholderssay they don’t get a good service from their managing agent.
68% of leaseholders have little or no confidence their managing agent could resolve issues efficiently and effectively.
51% of leaseholders say a change in managing agent would improve matters.
55% of leaseholders think changing managing agents would be a difficult process.
40% of leaseholders strongly disagree that service charge is value for money.
Clare Brady is Managing Director of Brady Solicitors