The Conveyancing Association (CA) has this week published a consumer guide on leasehold property.
The document, released yesterday, has a specific focus on the fees and charges that may be payable to a lease administrator.
'Leaseholder Guide to Lease Administration Fees' has been created to help consumers who already own, are looking to purchase or are selling a leasehold property.
The CA has produced the guide in response to a considerable increase in media coverage and consumer interest around issues such as escalating ground rents, leasehold new-build, management fees and service charges.
It provides information any prospective purchaser should have with regards to their cost now (and in the future), and the importance of securing this information upfront before any exchange of contracts.
Administration charges are also covered in the guide, ranging from exit and transfer fees to Deed of Covenant and Notice of Charge.
The reasonable nature of fees charged by lease administrators is also included, while information on how much these fees should typically be is provided.
CA member firms will be issuing this guide to leasehold clients, and it is being sent to all consumer groups and LEASE, which provides free initial advice and guidance to consumers about residential leasehold and park homes law.
“Part of the major problem we see with the fees associated with purchasing, selling or owning a leasehold property is that many consumers simply have no idea about the potential charges involved," comments Beth Rudolf, CA director of delivery.
"This is all about consumer education, and with leasehold [being] such a housing market and political hot potato at present, this should be the perfect time for conveyancers, consumer groups, and all those involved in providing advice to leaseholders, to issue this guide to ensure there are no surprises when these charges are made.”
Rudolf goes on to say the CA believes that lease administrators should be covered by a redress scheme so that there is a full and transparent complaints process to utilise if consumers feel charges and delays have been unreasonable.
Paula Higgins, chief executive of the HomeOwners Alliance, says her organisation welcomes the guide and that she hopes it allows consumers to feel 'empowered to ask the right questions and to have the confidence to dispute unfair fees'.