The Property Ombudsman warns agents and leaseholders win repair cost cases
Agents who fail to disclose tenure terms are in breach of Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs) The Property Ombudsman has warned.
The warning follows the National Leasehold Campaign (NLC) complained to Rightmove that users cannot search for properties on the portal by tenure – freehold, commonhold, or leasehold – and called for portals to do more to ensure leasehold details are transparent.
Calls for mandatory disclosure online
Many agents already include this information on written property details. Rightmove offers agents the option to add the information to listings, but the NLC has called for this information to be made mandatory.
Katrine Sporle, The Property Ombudsman, said:
‘TPO has always maintained that agents must disclose the tenure of a property. Those that fail to do so are in breach of the CPRs as well as the Codes of Practice.
As such, it is already mandatory. We would support the campaign for property portals to ensure that the information is available and accurate.’
Mark Hayward, NAEA Propertymark Chief Executive, said:
‘Anything material that would affect a purchaser’s decision needs to be disclosed at the earliest opportunity under CPR.
The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team considers tenure of a property to be material and this is reinforced by the Government’s attitude and actions in terms of leasehold properties.’
Victory for leaseholders in sprinkler battle
In London, Wandsworth Council has lost its bid to make leaseholders in high-rise blocks pay for retrofitting sprinklers. Water sprinklers would have been installed in all homes which are 30m or higher in the 100 blocks the council runs.
The council had attempted to use leaseholders’ service charges to recover some of the £24m cost of the works. More than 2,600 leaseholders were to receive bills of at least £4000 for the installation, which was estimated to cost £24m in total.
Five residents’ associations lodged objections, and the council was forced to take the case to a First-tier Property Tribunal in July 2018, with the ruling finally being made just over one year later.
Propertymark continues to lobby and campaign on leasehold, working in the best interests of those affected by leasehold issues.
Kindly shared by NAEA Propertymark