The Conveyancing Association (CA), the leading trade body for the conveyancing industry, has used its recent Annual General Meeting (AGM) to outline the progress made on its ‘Leasehold Reform’ work stream which is part of its Strategic Plan.
The CA is committed to helping reduce the costs and delays associated with leasehold transactions, plus it is seeking – with the help of many stakeholders – to develop a redress scheme and support fair terms in new leases.
Speaking at the AGM, the CA’s Director of Delivery, Beth Rudolf, was able to provide a positive update on the progress currently being made. Beth was also able to report that its proposals for Leasehold Reform have passed the first sift of the Law Commission’s 13th Programme of Law Reform; a second sift is due to take place by the end of May with the final approved projects being put before the Lord Chancellor for a decision by July.
The CA was also able to confirm that many of its proposals for the wider home-moving process also passed the first sift.
Since the publication of the Strategic Plan in March, the Association has presented its proposals on leasehold reform to a number of organisations including the British Property Federation and the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP) conference.
ALEP conference attendees showed strong support for some of the CA’s leasehold proposals and assumptions:
- 70% felt that a reasonable hourly rate for Lease Administrators is £100 or less.
- 59% felt 10 days is a reasonable time for delivery of leasehold information.
- 86% would like to see a redress scheme for all Lease Administrator activities.
- 79% would support the creation of a Lease Administrator’s register at HM Land Registry.
- 72% would like to see an amendment to the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act.
The Government has committed to a review on leasehold this year, and the legal sector has already taken the initiative to come together to outline the changes that would be required to improve the leasehold conveyancing process and ongoing ownership. The CA, the Law Society, Bold Legal Group, CILEx, and the SLC have together developed a range of proposals covering areas such as: reasonable fees and timescales for administrative activities; enforcement; unfair lease terms; overhaul of tenure; buildings insurance; management regulation; and the marketing of leasehold properties.
A full list of the proposals can be found at: www.conveyancingassociation.org.uk/leasehold-reform-the-profession-needs-your-input-please-respond-by-noon-on-tuesday-18th-april-2017/
The group is now seeking to obtain feedback on the proposals and is urging their respective memberships and all leasehold sector stakeholders to give their views on them via completion of a survey before the 17th April at: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/55QPFC3
The CA will then collate the responses, feeding these into the proposals before representations are made to policy makers.
Finally, the CA is urging its member firms to attend the next meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Leasehold and Commonhold which will take place on the 19th April.
Beth Rudolf, Director of Delivery at the Conveyancing Association, commented:
“Many of the eight work streams we outlined in our Strategic Plan were already underway, but perhaps it was our work on Leasehold Reform which had progressed furthest and we were therefore able to provide member firms, and all stakeholders, with a highly positive update at our recent AGM.
“Clearly, there is a Government commitment to look at the leasehold process and, with that in mind and in conjunction with a number of other legal organisations, we have now published a list of specific leasehold reform proposals which we are putting out to the wider community in order to gain further feedback before we approach those policy makers.
“These proposals cover off our core concerns, particularly around cost and delay, and we also seek support on some fundamentals including a redress scheme and a register for Lease Administrators. In seeking further feedback, we are looking to ensure we have all areas covered before we make our approaches to those who will be charged with delivering the change.
“Clearly, it was a major boost to hear that our proposals had made it through the first sift of the Law Commission’s 13th Programme of Law Reform, and we are waiting to hear if they make it through the next stage in May.
“The momentum towards leasehold reform continues to build and we would urge all our member firms to keep up the pressure in terms of making their voice heard and ensuring we can deliver our published proposals which we believe will have a hugely positive impact for all those active within the leasehold process. We will continue to spread the word and to lobby for real change that makes a significant difference in this important area.”
Last month the CA published a consumer guide on leasehold property, specifically outlining the fees and charges that clients may have to pay to a Lease Administrator. The ‘Leasehold Guide to Lease Administration Fees’ is available from the ‘Featured Downloads’ section on the CA website home page: www.conveyancingassociation.org.uk
The full Strategic Plan, ‘Building the framework for the future’, can be viewed by visiting the CA website at: www.conveyancingassociation.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Building-the-framework-for-the-future-Steps-in-the-CA-Strategic-Plan-2.pdf
For further information on The Conveyancing Association, please visit: www.conveyancingassociation.org.uk
This article was submitted to be published by The Conveyancing Association as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Conveyancer. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Conveyancer.