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Competition and Market Authority express concern over managing agent fees and some leasehold property practices

Earlier this year the Competition and Market Authority (“CMA”) published an update regarding leasehold selling practices and managing agent fees which you can view here.


The main points to highlight from the update are as follows:


  1. Unreasonable fees: being charged excessive and disproportionate fees for things like the routine maintenance of a building’s shared spaces or making home improvements;
  2. Cost of the freehold: the CMA has seen evidence that some homeowners  have been misled about the cost of converting their leasehold to freehold ownership. When buying their home, some people were told the freehold would cost only a small sum, but later down the line this price had increased by thousands of pounds with little to no warning;
  3. Ground rents: homeowners having to pay escalating ground rents, which in some cases can double every 10 years. Colloquially  called  ‘toxic leases’.  This increase is often built into contracts, meaning people can often struggle to sell their homes and find themselves trapped.


All of the above are widespread issues faced by thousands of leaseholders across the country and in these troubling and turbulent times the pinch of an excessive service charge and/or ground rent may be felt far more sharply!


You may be aware that the Law Commission has been looking into ways to solve some of these issues already and now of course the CMA are engaging as well and changes to the law to tackle these issues may be on the distant horizon.


However, there are already some things that you can do to try and alleviate the above issues, albeit if you have some capital to begin with. At Adcocks we specialise in Leasehold Reform Act work which allows individual tenants of houses, flats and groups of tenants in flats to either: extend their lease, reducing their ground rent to zero; Acquire the Right to Manage a site from their Landlord/Managing agent, thereby gaining control of the service charge budget; and even to acquire the freehold of your house, or collectively, your block of flats.


There are costs and conditions involved in the above processes. However, if you want to know more and be guided by expert advice then please do not hesitate to contact us today. This area of law is complicated and niche and something that we at Adcocks can help you with, having been recognised as the best firm outside of London for this type of work in 2019 (see here).


Please contact our office on 01543 442 100 and we can begin your work with an initial telephone consultation and desktop investigations while the world is still on lockdown!

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