The findings of the National Leasehold Survey 2016 have recently been published, which revealed some concerning, but not particularly surprising results. With the leasehold sector being such a minefield, is it any wonder that so many lessees struggle to know where they stand with their managing agents?
Two-thirds of leaseholders are not satisfied with the service they receive from their managing agent. Contrastingly, a mere 6% are ‘very confident’ that their managing agent would be able to resolve any issues they have. These statistics are far from satisfactory and strongly suggest that managing agents are often not providing an adequate service.
51% of leaseholders would like to change their managing agent, but 55% say they would not know how to go about doing this. Furthermore, many leaseholders are unaware of the alternatives open to them in place of managing agents, with 18% of leaseholders unaware that they are even able to change their managing agent. There are a handful of options available to the majority of leaseholders, such as collective enfranchisement and acquiring the right to manage, but because they have no or little knowledge of these they are not able to successfully utilise them.
Only 24% of leaseholders feel that they understand how their service charges are being spent. Many leaseholders are unhappy that they have no input as to how service charges are spent and that there tends to be a lack of communication surrounding this. Not knowing how service charges are being spent makes it difficult to challenge excessive fees. Because of this nearly half of leaseholders do not feel that the service charges they pay are good value for money. It is important that leaseholders explore their options as this could significantly reduce the service charges that they pay or ensure that they are being spent in a more resourceful way,
32% of leaseholders said they had no idea where to go to access information about their rights and obligations and only 52% of leaseholders are confident that they are aware of what these actually are. Leasehold property can be a very daunting and technical area, which often leaves leaseholders stumbling around in the dark. It is vital that leaseholders have access to this information to ensure that they are able to place themselves in the most advantageous position available to them.
The overall picture seems to be that leaseholders are not happy – a staggering 57% of leaseholders said that they now regret buying a leasehold property. This is largely down to poor service from managing agents and a lack of knowledge about leaseholder rights and responsibilities. If you are a leaseholder and are not happy with the management of your building or feel you need more information as to your rights and obligations, you should seek advice. Our specialist, award winning Leasehold Enfranchisement team are always on hand to help.
You can access the full National Leasehold Survey 2016 here – https://www.lease-advice.org/files/2016/07/Brady-Solicitors-in-partnership-with-LEASE-Leaseholder-Survey-June-16.pdf