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Peer calls for agency regulations to apply in leasehold sector

A high-profile peer has questioned why estate agency regulation wasn’t extended to property management companies in the Queen’s Speech this week.

Lord Truscott, formerly a Labour member of the House of Lords but now a cross-bench peer, said it was “regrettable” that the Queen’s Speech omitted regulation of property management agents and support for existing leaseholders.

The only mention of leasehold in the government’s legislative agenda is a law that will ban the sale of new leasehold houses.

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He accused the government of ignoring the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group proposals to introduce further regulation and minimum standards for property management agents.

Speaking during a Queen’s Speech’s debate in the upper parliamentary chamber, Lord Truscott said: “It is regrettable that, in addition to a database for rogue landlords and property agents, the government is not legislating to regulate property management agents.

“Estate agents are legally regulated, so I see no reason why equally important property management agents are not. 

“The 2019 recommendations of the Regulation of Property Agents working group have been ignored.”

He said property management agents tend to fall into three categories, adding “those managed by right to manage companies that are professional and competent; those managed by RTM companies that are wholly unprofessional and incompetent; and professional property management companies whose sole purpose seems to be to act on behalf of the freeholder and burden leaseholders with excessive costs, including extortionate commissions and overly expensive works.”

He said more work needs to be done on supporting existing leaseholders.

Lord Truscott added: “Abolition of so-called ‘marriage value’ would be welcome. 

“The proposed online calculator would also be of benefit. At last, leaseholders will be aware of the potential cost before embarking on the exercise. 

“Her Majesty’s government should firmly reject the specious argument made by some hedge funds that leasehold reform will imperil their human rights as property owners. If the law has to be changed to nullify this argument, it should be. 

“In short, I look forward to the government pressing ahead as soon as possible with legislation in this area that will offer real hope to renters and leaseholders.”

Lord Truscott is no stranger to controversy.

He made headlines in 2009 as one of four Labour peers named by the Sunday Times as willing to accept money to help companies amend proposed laws that would have an adverse effect on them.

He also resigned from the Labour Party in 2009 amid expenses allegations.

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    RTM company and a block management company are two different things.

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    I call for less industry regulation and more common sense.

  • Z Operchal

    Good piece! Regulation is essential.
    Leaseholders and freeholders/MA are on opposite sides and it rarely works.
    Also, incompetent and unprofessional block managing agents work for freeholders, even with qualifications.
    MA Insurance commissions are clearly not a cost of keeping insured consciously causing major harm and disclosure must occur before received then clients can say MA to opt out.
    A sunset clause on leasehold is essential for Commonhold to be tenure of future and choice.

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