New Clause 35 - Duty to notify purchasers of liability for estate management charges

Part of Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 4:00 pm ar 30 Ionawr 2024.

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Photo of Lee Rowley Lee Rowley Minister of State (Minister for Housing) 4:00, 30 Ionawr 2024

I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire for moving new clause 35. I share his concern that purchasers should know about estate management charges; we talked a little about that issue in our sitting this morning.

There is nothing worse than facing a bill that we know nothing about at a time when we can do nothing about it. That is why the Government have been working with the national trading standards estate and letting agency team to develop guidance for property agents on what constitutes material information. The information must be included in property listings to meet the obligations under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. Estate management charges are considered material if they will have an impact on a decision to purchase. That should mean that purchasers get information on the expected level of estate management charges when they see the property particulars before they even view the property, let alone make an offer.

In addition to the measures that we discussed this morning, we are seeking to include in the Bill a requirement that freehold estate management information be provided to potential sellers, meaning that conveyancers acting on behalf of those sellers can quickly get the detailed information that they need to provide to potential purchasers. That could include accounts, if the estate manager is a resident-owned company, as well as any previous or future charges. With that reassurance in mind, I hope that my hon. Friend will consider withdrawing his new clause.