ALEP first became aware of a Government consultation being undertaken in relation to proposed increases in tribunal fees in August. The proposed changes related to the Property Chamber, with implications to First-tier Tribunal applications and hearings being of particular concern to ALEP members.
ALEP immediately carried out extensive research and consultation with its member firms, many of whom raised concerns regarding the legitimacy of the proposal from the MOJ. The Association also liaised with representatives from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Property Litigation Association (PLA) and Leasehold Forum.
ALEP’s official response to the consultation outlined its concerns – and those of its members – and fully rejected the proposal on the basis that it is wholly unfair to leaseholders and will firmly strengthen the position of freeholders.
ALEP has now received an email from the MOJ Policy Group outlining the adjustments that Ministers have made in light of ALEP’s response and has been thanked for its contribution to the process.
In relation to the proposals about proceedings in the Property Chamber, it has been announced that Minsters have decided:
1. to introduce a lower and more proportionate fee of £20 for proceedings relating to disputes about rent; and
2. not to proceed with the original proposals for leasehold enfranchisement cases. We will be developing proposals for a graduated fee structure for these cases which better reflect the value at stake in the proceedings, which we will bring forward for consultation in the New Year. In the meantime, we will be applying the new standard Property Chamber fee (£100 to issue proceedings and £200 for a hearing) to leasehold enfranchisement proceedings.
Alex Greenslade is ALEP’s co-Founder and Honorary Secretary. He says:
‘We welcome the Government’s decision to reflect the concerns of our members in its response. As an association we have always sought to improve legislation to make it easier for leaseholders to exercise their rights and continue to strive to improve awareness of leaseholders’ rights generally. By consulting our members and collaborating with other organisations within the wider property industry, this commitment has been rewarded by positive Government reaction.”
The Government’s full response and the related documents can be found via the following link: