The head of a property management company says conveyancers must do more to ensure buyers of leasehold properties fully understand the implications of their choice of home.
Gary Cane, managing director at Property Block Management, says: ”Too often purchasers have not fully understood the implications of owning a leasehold property. Conveyancers have a duty of care to ensure their clients have a full and proper understanding of their lease, and accountability is currently limited.”
Cane insists there should be a culture shift amongst conveyancers and a move away from what he calls “the current race to the bottom” on price.
“A balance can be struck between speed, price and quality of service. Buyers need to be given the best advice when they are making the biggest purchase of their life, but they also need to be conscious that better quality service may incur a higher cost” he says.
He claims that far too many leaseholders have a fundamental misunderstanding as to what they own when they purchase a flat or a house under leasehold. Increased transparency and a simplification of leasehold practice is essential, he says.
“For example, a summary of Key Facts (similar to financial services) when purchasing would provide a clear overview for those less familiar with the intricacies of leasehold tenure. This also applies to freehold houses when part of an estate” he adds.
“Through increased regulation we can safeguard homeowners against any unscrupulous party that abuses their position of power. We can protect consumers by cracking down on agents that undercut prices and then under-deliver on contracts.
“This is a critical issue, overpromising and under delivering is one thing, but at certain points a lack of knowledge can result in a failure to complete essential checks and maintenance potentially putting people at risk and contributing to a drop in property value.”