Leasehold Advisory Service

Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 8th May 2014.

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Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley Conservative, Worthing West

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

(1) if he will direct the Leasehold Advisory Service to cease carrying advertising for or links to the services of Benjamin Mire or Trust Property Management;

(2) if he will direct the Leasehold Advisory Service to co-operate with the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership and the Campaign Against Retirement Leasehold Exploitation on providing advice to leaseholders.

Photo of Kris Hopkins Kris Hopkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

My hon. Friend raises a serious matter. In July 2013, Mr Benjamin Mire resigned from his (part-time) judicial post on the Southern Residential Property Tribunal following a conduct investigation by the Ministry of Justice, but prior to the conclusion of the formal disciplinary process.

Mr Mire is chief executive of Trust Property Management, a firm of chartered surveyors and managing agents. The issue raised is whether this company should continue to be advertised on LEASE’s (the Leasehold Advisory Service) practitioners’ list.

The practitioner list is not meant to be a fully comprehensive list, nor does inclusion constitute a recommendation by LEASE. Firms pay a fee to be entered on the list and sign a contract accordingly.

In considering a recent complaint on this issue, LEASE undertook a careful review of their terms and conditions in relation to inclusion in their professional directory. This has resulted in amendments being made, and revised terms and conditions have been published on their website.

The revised terms and conditions give LEASE the right to temporarily remove an organisation’s directory information from the directory if a complaint is received from a third party relating to the organisation or its listing. They also give LEASE the right to terminate the contract with immediate effect by giving written notice if a number of conditions are not met, these include:

“The inclusion of the organisation’s directory information on the directory conflicts with LEASE Conferences Ltd or the Leasehold Advisory Service’s purposes, objectives or obligations or brings LEASE into disrepute or there is a risk (in our reasonable opinion) of any such conflict or bringing into disrepute.”

If Trust Property Management does not meet the new terms and conditions when their contract for inclusion in the directory is due for renewal in July, then they will be removed, as will any other organisation which similarly does not meet the revised terms and conditions.

While I appreciate that this may not be as quick a step as my hon. Friend would wish, moving forward, I hope these actions taken will in due course ensure the continued integrity of the practitioners’ list. I would be happy to meet my hon. Friend if he wishes to discuss this further.

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