The Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE)

The Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE)

July 14, 2009 10:52 ET

Lots of Hares but Just One Trusty Tortoise in the Online Space for Leasehold Advice

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - July 14, 2009) - It seems only yesterday that the cry was that owners of leasehold flats had no idea where to go for advice when things went wrong with the landlord, managing agent or neighbours. Now they can find themselves overwhelmed by the results of a Google search and spend hours online - but often end up no wiser for all that.

Online 'entrepreneurs' are fighting for dominance of the online space for leaseholders with web sites offering information on block management, service charges et al that usually adds up to no more than a cursory summary of the questions. Increasingly, these sites, or 'communities', enable individual blocks to set up a password-protected web site for free, so boosting loyal web traffic for the benefit of the advertisers who, quite understandably, are there to fund the site. After all, there are as many as 1.75 million leasehold flats in England and Wales alone - that adds up to a lot of disposable income.

Taking full advantage of social media technology, these commercial sites can also enable leaseholders to exchange information on service providers such as managing agents - although interestingly one of these has posted a blog from a flat owner who says he is being threatened with libel proceedings for something he wrote. There is clearly some interesting case law ahead of us as social media goes mainstream.

Meanwhile, the government-funded Leasehold Advisory Service continues to provide free, in-depth and personal legal advice, not just a bland, caveated overviews of the law. It's renewed web site has useful search functions fast-tracking users to answers to the most frequently asked questions, and all of its detailed and definitive publications are available to view and download. The web site works in tandem with a free telephone advice service that is manned by a team of qualified solicitors and non-practising barristers.

"Our goal is to ensure that a visitor to our web site comes away with a clear understanding of the issues facing them and of the way forward, not just an even longer list of questions, " says LEASE chief executive Anthony Essien.

Each year, LEASE deals with more than 30,000 enquiries from leaseholders, freeholders, managing agents and professional advisers. Subjects covered include enfranchisement (buying the freehold), lease extension, the leaseholders' right to manage the block themselves, disputes between leaseholders and managing agents and, of course, service charges.

Find LEASE (The Leasehold Advisory Service) at www.lease-advice.org or call them on 020 7354 5380

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