Bishop & Sewell

At the ARMA conference today, whose theme this year is ‘Agents for Change’, Lakhbir Hans (Deputy Director of MHCLG) gives an overview on MHCLG’s work on commonhold and rent charges and the reforms for Managing Agents more generally.

Below are some highlights from ARMA Conference below:

  • There may be a ground rent ban or restriction which will take effect on all new properties from 22.12.2017
  • Managing agents are to be regulated
  • ‘Leasehold can work’ it’s not all bad although there have been sector abuses
  • Modern ground rents have grown, paying high rents with unfair clauses
  • Consumers have not been aware of what they have been getting into
  • The government wants to move forward on banning leasehold houses and restricting new ground rents to a ‘peppercorn’
  • There will be some exemptions – shared ownership, community led housing, and inalienable land – the crown and also the National Trust
  • There is a commitment to housing supply and the government wants to ensure that their actions do not affect this
  • Any ban will affect leases granted after not likely to come to affect in until after 22.12.2017
  • It will not be possible to register a long lease of a house at the land registry once the ban comes in
  • £10 fixed rent – is likely to stay
  • The stewardship issue is also to be addressed and government wants to look at how this might work – could some people be allowed to charge a ground rent?
  • Ground rent may be permitted for shared ownership and retirement housing
  • Freehold house owners will have some rights – the right to challenge estate management charges and the right to challenge per the service charge legislation will be extended to them.
  • Managers – as per the call for evidence – government wants to commit to a single mandatory code of practice
  • There needs to be nationally recognised qualifications for agents – there will be a register and an overarching regulatory framework – and it will be an offensive to practice if not qualified
  • Lord Best will be chairing a working group – ARMA are not included, but many other sector bodies will be
  • Service charges are to be regulated  – consent fees for leaseholders particularly are going to be looked at – any charges will have to be transparent
  • A Working Group will look at the way in which these sorts of fees could be regulated

For more information, please contact our expert Landlord & Tenant team on or call 020 7631 4141.

Mark Chick Senior Partner   +44 (0)20 7079 2415

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