The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has today published new ‘how to’ guides for tenants, landlords and letting agents to help renters and leaseholders understand their rights. These are intended to help equip landlords, leaseholders and tenants with better information. The new guides include a ‘How to lease’ document, which contains advice on leaseholders’ “unique set of rights and responsibilities”.
The publication of these guides supports the Government’s agenda to improve practices in the private rented and leasehold sectors and is something that FirstPort supports whole-heartedly. We very much welcome this drive for greater transparency and more informed leaseholders and renters.
Having published our own guide to freehold/leasehold some time ago, we recognise there is a great need for this. It appears surprisingly common that buyers enter into the purchase of a leasehold property without a full understanding of the parties involved and their respective responsibilities.
The distinction between freehold landlord and managing agent can cause confusion, as can the difference between ground rent and service charge. Leasehold properties can carry restrictions on use or on resale; and potential buyers should be aware of and take these into account when making the decision.
Costs, in particular for major works programmes, can cause lessees real problems. Frequently, buyers will enter into the purchase of a lease without realising the responsibilities this is taking on and the potential costs entailed. But a fuller understanding allows for preparation and comparison with other forms of tenure – and indeed, service charges on leasehold property often work out less expensive than servicing a freehold property.
The MHCLG has also produced a guide for rental tenants and for landlords setting the respective rights and responsibilities of both parties, and giving helpful guides to the processes involved in securing a tenancy and to providing a safe rental home.
At FirstPort we are in the vanguard of change within the property management industry: signing up to voluntary regulation, employing modern techniques and the latest technologies to deliver well-managed assets and 21st Century customer service, and building a staff of accredited professionals to help us consistently meet high standards in areas such as service and safety.
Providing better information to the customer is a vital component of this, giving them an understanding of the terms of their tenure, the responsibilities that fall upon them – and what they can rightfully expect from the owners and managers of the developments on which they live.
Whether rental tenant or lessee, a property manager’s working relationship with a customer is only made more productive by such shared understanding.
We think that a transparent and customer-focused approach benefits leaseholders, tenants and the wider industry, delivering:
- Confidence – improved consumer confidence in the property management industry
- Clarity – increased transparency so consumers can make informed decisions
- Choice – new ways for consumers to exercise choice when it comes to their managing agent