Call for Managing Agents to work closer with Solicitors and Surveyors

publication date: Nov 12, 2009
 | 
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books
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The head managing agent in the UK has called for more co-operation with professionals in order to help flat owners make sure they maximise the values of their properties, say the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP).

Brett Williams, Chairman of the Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) recently addressed a group of more than 100 at the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners.

Accordingly to ARMA, traditionally flat owners have consulted their managing agents, the companies who are contracted to look after the shared parts in and around blocks of flats, and many agents have attempted to conduct the process themselves. However, Mr Williams acknowledged that there are many pitfalls for the unwary managing agent and that flat owners are usually better served by collaboration with local solicitors and surveyors.
 
Honorary Secretary of ALEP Alex Greenslade stated “Managing agents have regular contact with their clients, the flat owners, and are in a great position to explain the importance of extending their leases at the right time”. Mr Greenslade noted that many blocks of flats built in the 1970s are now getting close to the 80-year threshold and stated that when a lease drops below this number of unexpired years, it becomes very much more expensive to extend a lease than at 81 years.

According to ALEP, leasehold enfranchisements are seeing a steady increase in enquires about freehold acquisition and lease extensions.

The conference also included a session looking at the process of exercising the ‘Right to Manage’ compared with lease extensions/freehold acquisition. It was noted that ever more blocks of flats are opting for RTM because it costs less, but many are finding it less good value for money because it does not solve many other challenges associated with managing a block.

ALEP can be contacted on 0845 225 2277 or via their website www.alep.org.uk.


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