Government to introduce fee cap for leasehold inquiries

By on October 1, 2019

Leaseholders look set to benefit from quicker response times and lower fees from freeholders and managing agents thanks to new restrictions being put into place by the government.

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The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, has announced plans to bring into action a £240 cap on the fees chargeable by freeholders and property management companies to leaseholders looking for information.

This maximum fee (equivalent to £200 plus VAT) is in addition to the setting of a maximum time period in which queries from leaseholders must be answered. The new 15 working day turnaround time should help leaseholders be able to access the information they need more quickly without unnecessary delays.

Why is the government making these changes?

The intended reform is aimed to help leasehold homeowners looking to sell their properties. After many allegations of unfair and exploitative practices taking place in today’s leaseholder market, these new rules are hoped to be an end to such behaviors and make it easier for leaseholders to sell their homes.

What is the current situation?

In order to sell their property, leaseholders often need to obtain a fair amount of information from the person who owns the freehold to the property, or the managing agent. Currently, there is no limit to what freeholders and managing agents can charge for providing this information, and some take advantage of this by charging unnecessarily high fees. Some also take a significantly long time to answer questions from their leaseholders. This can lead to difficulties for the leaseholder wishing to progress the sale of their property and, in some cases, may put off a leaseholder from selling entirely due to the fear of delays and costs they could face.

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Any move to simplify the process and reduce the cost of moving is sure to be welcomed. For example, online conveyancing is becoming increasingly popular as an aide to moving home. As with everything, it’s always worth checking the small print to be clear on what you will be expected to pay. https://www.samconveyancing.co.uk/news/conveyancing/online-conveyancing-quotes-the-truth-behind-the-low-fees-280 provides a useful guide to what to look out for.

Improvements on the horizon

When these government changes come into force, leaseholders will be able to obtain vital information quickly and cost-effectively. It should help to improve the entire process of buying and selling leasehold properties.

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