LEASE will deal with over 35,000 direct enquiries this year, 24% up on the previous year, and over 430,000 people will consult its web site, many viewing its widely-respected and detailed advice guides. Service charges are the biggest worry for leaseholders, and currently account for nearly a fifth of direct enquiries to LEASE.
Few people can claim really to understand leasehold law, and that lack of understanding can lead to unnecessary disputes and heartache. The complex legislation – there are a dozen or more statutes that apply – affects at least three million people living in leasehold flats and houses, the landlords who have £trillions of capital tied up and the managing agents, valuers and solicitors who provide professional services for them.
While requests for help from leaseholders of flats and houses in the private sector , those who manage their buildings themselves or who have acquired their flats under the right to buy accounts for most of LEASE’s substantial workload, the organisation also provides valuable resources and support for professionals involved in the leasehold sector. As Anthony Essien, chief executive of LEASE said: "If they get it right in the first place, many of the problems we see could be avoided, saving everyone a lot of time and, potentially, money."
To this end LEASE holds an annual conference to update lawyers, valuers, property managers and estate agents. With the Master of the Rolls and the chief executive of the Cadogan Estate both agreeing to speak at this May’s LEASE conference, it is clear that leasehold really does matter. (www.lease-advice.org/conference).
In the past it has been questions about how leaseholders can go about buying their freehold has topped the league, but this has dropped back from 19% to just 10% last year.
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