The Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP) welcomed more than 180 leasehold sector professionals to its virtual Annual Spring Lecture.
The online lecture built upon the success of ALEP’s virtual conference in October 2020 to offer both insight and practical advice to professionals working in the leasehold sector over the course of two days.
The discussion was centred on the cladding and fire safety crisis that has emerged in the wake of the fire at Grenfell Tower and the subsequent effects on the practice of those working in leasehold enfranchisement.
Mark Chick, ALEP Director and host of the Lecture, said: “We have been careful to treat this delicate topic with the respect that it deserves and have wanted to deal with the issues sensitively. We did not take on the topic of cladding and enfranchisement lightly, but selected it because our members are facing an increasing need to adapt their practice to the emerging issues.
“We have been pleased with the success of the virtual format and the outstanding line-up of speakers who have offered an insightful overview of the ever-changing situation for our members.”
ALEP welcomed Justin Bates from Landmark Chambers, Dr Jonathan Evans from Ash & Lacy Building Systems, and Dr Nigel Glen, from the Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA). All three have been actively involved in the response to the cladding crisis, offering evidence and advice to the government since the Grenfell Tower fire.
Day one offered a background to the cladding crisis and the issues facing the wider housing sector. In a lecture focused on insight and understanding, the speakers explained the details of cladding installation, the cost of waking watches and the potential for future legislation, among a range of different topics.
Day two focused more specifically on the impact the cladding crisis has had on leasehold enfranchisement, providing opinions from both legal and valuation experts.
James Sandham from Selborne Chambers, Anna Favre from Cripps Pemberton Greenish, and Chris Macartney from Bishop & Sewell opened the session with legal considerations.
Fiona Haggett FRICS Head of Valuation from Barclays UK gave a presentation that considered the impact that the crisis around fire safety issues has had upon the mortgage market for both borrowers and lenders.
The lecture concluded with a roundtable of experts including Colin Horton from Hortons Valuers, Mark Wilson from myleasehold, Richard Murphy from Richard John Clarke and Clive Scrivener from Scrivener Tibbatts joined by barrister, Piers Harrison of Tanfield Chambers. In a lively discussion, the panel debated the difficulty of offering accurate valuations when accounting for potential future remediation before answering questions posed by members.
Mark Chick concluded: “We are very grateful to all the speakers for giving their time and sharing their knowledge. I fear the cladding issue will not be resolved quickly so it was extremely useful to be able to offer ALEP members an intensive course on the background, intricacies and considerations of what is a very complicated topic.”