OFT to investigate property management services

5 March 2014

You know when your property management company charges astronomical maintenance fees, even though there’s a dead rat on the stairway and more mysterious leaks than even Edward Snowden could handle?

derelict houses

Well, if you’ve ever been at the mercy of sinister/lazy/overpriced property managers who charge regular fees for bugger all, you’ll be pleased to know that the Office of Fair Trading is looking into the ‘services’ they provide, to see if they actually do anything at all.

The investigation will cover local authorities and housing associations, as well as private property management companies.

The OFT will look into whether the market is working for leaseholders and freeholders and ask whether property management companies have the best interests of their leaseholders. (No). They’ll also ask whether we have much of a choice over which company deals with our building maintenance. (No). Then they’ll look into whether there are barriers to switching and enough competition in the property management market. (No).

The Competition and Marketing Authority (CMA) takes over some of the OFT’s duties in April and will be publishing a report at the end of the year. Rachel Merelie, who is leading the study, said:

‘Service charges for the maintenance of a building can be substantial and we want to make sure that leaseholders are getting a fair deal. We are concerned that management agents and freeholders may not be incentivised to keep maintenance costs down and that leaseholders may not receive value for money.’

Ya think?

TOPICS:   Consumer Advice   Home   Complaints   Economy

3 comments

  • just s.
    The OFT, on the pulse as usual. In the meantime, don't buy a flat until you've checked out the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership who have been doing great work in this area for years.
  • Bonnylad
    Excellent news, can they start with Capita Symonds or quickly followed by Trinity Estates. They've been robbing us tenants blind for years with no comeback on how much service charge we have to pay.
  • bushbrother
    I am so glad I sold my flat that was "managed" by OMPropertyManagement. How companies like them have got away with using sister companies to "broker" buildings insurance at a 33% mark up is beyond me. They also used to take their fee as a % of outgoings, so didnt give a shit about spending as it was good for them. No way out of it as they did a deal with the builder of the development, who were also the leaseholder, and buying the lease requires too many people, and most flats are rented from investment buyers. I even requested invoices from our accounts and found invoices that were not for our development.

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