Better protection needed from rogue managing agents

Government responds with call for evidence

9 November 2017

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Managing Agents have been calling for regulation of the residential management sector in order to protect residents from a small minority of rogue agents who bring the sector and their profession into disrepute. The UK Government has responded with a new call for evidence which lasts for six weeks from Wednesday 18 October 2017. While these proposals relate to England only, managing agents in Wales are paying close attention to the progress and outcome of the consultation as it is possible that any ensuing regulation could be adopted by the Welsh Government.

Managing agents are appointed by the owner of a property to manage their property and this may include repairs and maintenance.  In an unregulated industry anyone can set up as a managing agent.  Often these rogue agents provide a poor service and headlines in which leaseholders have been grossly overcharged for repairs and contracts are not uncommon.

The call for evidence also asks for views on simplifying the process under which leaseholders can choose or switch managing agents and simplifying the Right To Manage process.  It also suggests a review of the system under which leaseholders can challenge service charges and influence decisions on major works which are currently subject to consultation under Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

Philip Angell, Director of Property Management at Cooke & Arkwright said, “Leaseholders need better protection from unscrupulous people who set themselves up as managing agents without any qualifications or experience and then provide poor quality services and value for money.  We welcome the news that the Government is considering a requirement that all managing agents are to be members of a relevant professional body.  

Cooke & Arkwright are regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and we welcome the move by the UK Government as a step in the right direction.  Some of the other possible reforms would be more difficult to implement and the Government must find a balance between protecting the rights of leaseholders whilst enabling a landlord/managing agent to efficiently manage a residential development without unduly increasing costs and causing delays. It would not be helpful to give too much power to a small minority of vexatious leaseholders who can significantly increase the costs of management for all leaseholders in a development.”

Property Manager Kelly Kerslake added, “As a Member of the Institute of Residential Property Management (IRPM) I also welcome the news of better regulation in the industry. Whilst there are many good managing agents in the sector, it is important that the good service they provide is not diluted by those who do not, and that there will be greater protection for leaseholders and freeholders alike from poorly performing managing agents.”