OFT to investigate property management services
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?
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.’