Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE)

Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE)

May 21, 2009 04:00 ET

Flat Owners Missing Out on Free Legal Advice Says LEASE (The Leasehold Advisory Service)

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - May 21, 2009) - An estimated 1 in 50 flat owners in England and Wales contacted the Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE), the government's free legal advice service last year alone, nearly half of them with problems relating to service charges and standards, and the numbers are expected to increase as the recession continues to bite and money gets tighter.

Yet, despite the significance of the owner-occupied leasehold sector throughout the country (see figures below) and the increasing number of leasehold flats that have been built, particularly in key city centres, the overwhelming majority of enquiries handled by LEASE continue to come from London, an imbalance its team of qualified solicitors and barristers is keen to redress. "We help leaseholders and freeholders to understand how the law applies to them so that they can make the best decisions, and we want to make sure that everyone who needs us is aware of our services," says LEASE chief executive Anthony Essien.

As well as providing instant online access to comprehensive downloadable, plain-English fact sheets and answers to the questions asked most frequently, LEASE offers a telephone advice service and personal interviews and mediation services by appointment. While it cannot actually represent leaseholders or freeholders who turn to it for advice, the organisation can point them in the right, and most cost-effective, direction towards finding a resolution to their problems.

"Unreasonable service charges, poor standards of maintenance, worries about leases running out - or all three - can add up to sheer misery for flat owners," says Mr Essien. "Yet the logistics of getting fellow-leaseholders together to agree a course of action can be daunting, in even the smallest of blocks.

There are more than a dozen laws applying to leasehold tenure and we can help people to plot the clearest and most affordable way through the leasehold jungle," he says.

More information is available at www.lease-advice.org or call LEASE on 020 7374 5380.



Flats in the key UK cities(i)

(i)figures based on 2001 census

(ii)LEASE estimate. Lease estimates there to be around 1.6 million owner-
occupied leasehold flats ie some 37% of all flats

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Flats as a Owner Occupied Flats as a
percentage flats as percentage
of total percentage of housing stock
housing stock of total in central
Number of flats (houses, flats housing postcode area
in area(i) etc)(i) stock(ii) (BS1,L1 etc)(i)
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National 4324294 19.19% 7.1% -
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Birmingham 137746 18.77% 6.94% 76.10%
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Bournemouth 61722 26.23% 9.70% 76.27%
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Brighton 108690 31.36% 11.6% 47.35%
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Bristol 72737 19.77% 7.31% 85.62%
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Cardiff 50474 12.71% 4.70% 57.44%
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Leeds 59513 18.45% 6.83% 89.50%
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Liverpool 58458 16.00% 5.92% 50.15%
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Manchester 98639 21.11% 7.81% 94.22%
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Newcastle 99692 19.71% 7.29% 92.50%
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Nottingham 55386 11.72% 4.33% 75.22%
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Portsmouth 70218 20.56 7.60% 50.11%
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Sheffield 70306 12.50% 4.63% 67.22%
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Southampton 52772 20.06% 7.42% -
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Swansea 33186 10.61 3.93% 70.58%
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About LEASE:

The Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE) is an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (ENDPB) funded by Government to provide free legal advice to leaseholders, landlords, professional advisers, managers and others on the law affecting residential leasehold and commonhold. It also provides a mediation service.

LEASE is funded by -

- Communities and Local Government (CLG)

- Her Majesty's Court Service (HMCS)

- Welsh Assembly Government (WAG)

LEASE provides advice by telephone, by letter or email, or in person at the office; and it can arrange seminars and group meetings where large numbers of leaseholders want to discuss a joint issue. LEASE publishes a wide range of free advice notes, that are available on request or to download.

Leasehold advisers are available for telephone advice from 9:30am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday 0n 020 7374 5380

Contact Information