2017 has seen ALEP celebrate a decade at the forefront of enfranchisement and as this anniversary year draws to a close, we can reflect on the achievements the Association has made in the past 12 months.
We have gained ten new member firms, taking our numbers to 215, which exceeds our own target and is testament to ALEP’s reputation and continued high standing.
Again this year our members have been called to consult on matters for possible reform, such as tackling unfair practices in the leasehold market, the regulation of managing agents, London’s housing crisis, and possible changes to the rules concerning costs in leasehold and residential property cases. As an Association, we are ever-mindful that our members act for either freeholders or leaseholders and, in some instances, for both, and that, as an Association, we are not politically aligned nor do we lobby either for or against freeholders, but in the general interests of the sector.
We continue to forge relationships with organisations in the wider industry including the RICS, LEASE, NAEA, ARLA, IRPM, ARMA and the Law Society and places at our Leasehold Lunches, which twice a year provide an opportunity for these organisations to take part in informal round-table discussions, are highly sought-after. Our directors, committee and other members of the ALEP management team have also represented the Association at these other organisations’ conferences and training events throughout the year and it is our intention to have formal representation by way of exhibition stands at such events in 2018.
In March we held our 20th Conference, which was followed by an anniversary Gala Dinner. Both were held in the grand setting of RIBA London and provided our 200+ delegates and guests an opportunity to hear essential legal and valuation updates and take part in lively debates on the future of leasehold reform. Importantly, the day was not only one for learning and education but a chance for networking and connecting with like-minded professionals, a value which sits firmly at the Association’s heart.
In April, we held our fourth quiz-night, an evening of `Brainteasers at Bank’, which saw 80+ members battle it out for the famous ALEP winners’ trophy at Forge, Bank. Our golf day moved south of the M25 in September and took place at the challenging Westerham Golf Club. The event proved very popular with the 25 golfers and 8 novices taking to the greens and enjoying a post-game dinner.
In October we hosted our first annual conference, which took place at the Barbican. This signalled a change to our usual conference pattern, as we made the decision – in an ever-crowded market – to streamline the usual twice-yearly conferences into one all-encompassing annual event. This will enable us to offer even more training to our members through informal educational events and regional training and networking; we kick this off with the ALEP Commonhold Lecture, which is taking place on Wednesday 21 February 2018. Please save the date for this event.
Following feedback from ALEP members, the new-look conference format was split into morning and afternoon sessions, with delegates able to attend either session or the entire event. Topical debate and interactive voting featured in presentations delivered by expert speakers offering a comprehensive insight into the sector’s intricacies. A key topic from the conference was a call for sector-wide education on all practices concerning leasehold and enfranchisement.
Thank you to all who supported ALEP events in 2017. As always, we are grateful to our sponsor, Kerry London, which has supported us for a fifth consecutive year. The provision of moral support, as well as financial, is appreciated and I know that our members also appreciate the professional service – and favourable rates – Kerry London offers.
DRIVE Marketing, an agency led by Clare Grove and Anna Bailey, continues to run the management of the Association. I believe the members receive prompt and efficient service.
So, grateful thanks go to them, as well as those who play a crucial role: Liza Smith, the administrator, and the band of ALEP ladies (and, more recently, gentlemen) who so ably help at ALEP events throughout the year.
I would also like to thank all the members of the advisory committee for their guidance and support, particularly that of Mark Chick.
In a sector that faces change and challenges aplenty, ALEP continues to be an influential organisation, with membership ensuring professionalism and quality and none of this would be possible without the continued support and loyalty of you, our member firms and individual barristers. By attending our events, participating in consultations and supporting the Association in a myriad of ways, you help us take ALEP from strength to strength.