18th October 2017
Sell out ALEP conference sees delegates call for more 'enfranchisement education'
Sell out ALEP conference sees delegates call for more 'enfranchisement education'

The Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP) hosted its first ever annual conference on Monday 9 October 2017 at The Barbican Centre, London.

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.

Michael Tibbatts, Senior Partner of Scrivener Tibbatts discussed ground rents and their impact on marriage value during his afternoon presentation. This sparked lively debate amongst delegates when Michael raised the point of more education across the sector being needed about freehold, leasehold and ground rents from estate agents to surveyors, valuers and consumers.

Interactive voting saw 51% of delegates agree that the current leasehold system should be maintained, but reforms should be considered to limit the quantum of ground rents that can be charged in certain situations. In contrast, 33% of delegates felt that a complete overhaul of the 1967 and 1993 Acts was required to produce, amongst other things, a common and simplified approach to enfranchisement.

Other leading lights of leasehold enfranchisement presented at this year's conference, including:

  •  Harriet Holmes, Tanfield Chambers
  •  Eleanor Murray, Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
  •  Peter Beckett, Beckett and Kay
  •  Mark Chick, Bishop & Sewell and ALEP Director
  •  Piers Harrison, Tanfield Chambers
  •  Michael Tibbatts, Scrivener Tibbatts
  •  Katherine Simpson, Pemberton Greenish
  •  James Culley, Knight Frank
  •  Dr Mark Andrew, Real Estate Finance and Investment, Cass Business School
  •  Martin Rodgers QC

ALEP's Director, Anna Bailey, said: "A key theme from this year's conference was sector-wide education and this is where ALEP comes in to promote best practice and raise standards collectively not only for the clients of our 215 members, but for other bodies within the wider property industry, such as estate agents.

"In just 10 years ALEP has grown to be an influential organisation and our conferences offer invaluable sector insight for young professionals new to the sector, as well those wanting to brush up on their knowledge or keep up to date with key developments in leasehold.

"This event heralded a change to ALEP's usual conference pattern, as the Association will now streamline the usual twice yearly conferences into one all-encompassing annual event. This will enable ALEP to offer even more training to our members through informal educational events and regional training and networking throughout the year."

The Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP) brings together barristers, managing agents, project managers, solicitors and valuers working in the leasehold sector under one, all-encompassing professional membership organisation. For more information, visit

18th October 2017
Call for Evidence: Protecting consumers in the letting and managing agent market
Call for Evidence: Protecting consumers in the letting and managing agent market

The Department for Communities and Local Government has today called for evidence to protect consumers in the letting and managing agent market.

The survey which opened today is open for six weeks until the 29th November 2017.

Now is the time to have your say!

You can respond to the survey as an individual or an organisation here.

Plans announced for new measures to help create a fairer property management system that works for everyone.

Plans for new measures to help create a fairer property management system that works for everyone have today (18 October 2017) been announced by the Communities Secretary Sajid Javid.

With over 4.2 million leasehold homes in the country and service charges reaching between £2.5 billion and £3.5 billion a year, the Communities Secretary will say the government is determined to fix the problems in the property management industry, drive down costs and protect consumers from the small minority of rogue agents.

The problem isn’t just for leaseholders, but for some of the 4.5 million tenants in the rental sector too – with overcharged costs for repairs and services often passed down to tenants.

Since 2010, government has taken action to require all letting and management agents to belong to a redress scheme, and we have introduced a range of tougher measures to target rogue landlords and agents in the private rented sector.

As part of this new call for evidence, government is seeking views on:

  • whether regulatory overhaul of the sector is needed
  • measures to protect consumers from unfair costs and overpriced service charges
  • ways to place more power in the hands of consumers by giving leaseholders more say over their agent

It will ask if a new independent regulatory body is needed - and if separate bodies should be established, for both leasehold and private rented management, and letting agents.

While the sector is partly self regulated - through professional bodies such as the Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA), ARLA Propertymark (formally Association of Residential Letting Agents) and the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS), which have a code of conduct – other property agents operate outside of any system and can provide a poor deal for consumers.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said:

This is supposed to be the age of the empowered consumer – yet in property management, we’re still living in the past.

Today we are showing our determination to give power back to consumers so they have the service they expect and deserve, as part of my drive to deliver transparency and fairness for the growing number of renters and leaseholders.

Our proposed changes to regulate the industry will give landlords, renters and leaseholders the confidence they need to know that their agents must comply with the rules.

Research by consumer group Which? shows that unfair practices can lead to as much as £700 million of unnecessary service charges being paid each year, and others such as the All Party Parliamentary Group on leaseholds believe the total could be as much as £1.4 billion.

The government will consider changing the law so that all letting and management agents, across both the private rented and leasehold sectors, must be qualified and regulated in order to practice.

Measures to be considered as part of the call for evidence include:

  • how consumers can be empowered in the market, including whether leaseholder tenants should have a greater say over the appointment of managing agents
  • how transparency can be increased in the system so that tenants and leaseholders know what they are being charged for and why
  • ensuring fairness and openness around relations between freeholders and agents
  • looking at what qualifications are needed by agents to practice and how regulation can be improved

This piece of work is part of wider government action to bring power back to the tenant and leaseholder.

In summer 2017, government launched a consultation setting out radical proposals to cut out unfair abuses of leasehold to deliver a fairer, more transparent system for homebuyers. Plans include banning new build homes being sold as leasehold as well as restricting ground rents to as low as zero.

Earlier this month the Secretary of State also announced measures to help make sure tenants are more secure in their homes; requiring all letting agents to be regulated; and consulting with the judiciary on the case for a new Housing Court – a specialist court with the aim to save time and money resolving housing disputes.

Government has also confirmed it will legislate to ban letting fees so that tenants aren’t hit by unfair charges.

2nd October 2017
Property Leader Moves into Management
Property Leader Moves into Management

One of the property industry’s most successful and respected figures is launching a new arm to his multi-facetted business network, with the intention of providing the opportunity for others to follow his entrepreneurial path.

In 2006, having earned his reputation for entrepreneurship through founding the digital banking division HSBC, First Direct and then the online bank Egg, Paul Gratton returned to a business he had founded 17 years previously, entitled Direct Valuations, a company that carries out valuations for some of the UK’s biggest banks and insurance companies.

After a merger with chartered surveyors J&E Shepherd to become ‘Shepherd Direct Ltd’ in 2011, Gratton led a whirlwind of business development, acquiring the UK arm of global estate agent franchise ‘Century 21’, launching services in lettings and embarking on a series of buyouts and mergers with companies involved in mortgages, insurance, auctions and estate management.

Now the SDL Group is launching its first ever home-grown franchise for Property Managers looking to follow in Gratton’s footsteps and strike out on their own.

SDL Property Partners came as a result of a well-timed meeting between the SDL Group, who were researching opportunities for expansion, and Nick Faulkner, a well-known and highly respected figure in the property management industry. Having built management businesses independently and for other property brands, Faulkner agreed to merge the Alexander Faulkner Partnership with the SDL Group to strengthen SDL Property Management and launch a franchise which had long been one of his professional ambitions.

‘Coming from a similar professional approach, Nick and I both understood what we wanted to create,’ says Gratton. ‘In the current climate, there is not enough support for entrepreneurship within the property industry and the creation of new businesses is key to the sector’s growth and prosperity. People understandably find the prospect of starting out on their own a daunting and risky proposition, so SDL Property Partners has been designed to address those concerns.’

Franchisees are offered a seven day intensive training course, Qube licence, company set up and VAT registration with ongoing advice and support directly from experienced professionals within the SDL Group. They can also access a full range of marketing materials, including online presence and digital marketing.

‘I am very excited about SDL Property Partners, because it takes me back to when I was first given the opportunity to create a new enterprise from scratch,’ explains Gratton. ‘I had resources at HSBC that I could tap into when I needed them, and the association with an established industry brand, so I am delighted be in the position to create something similar for the next generation of the Property Industry.’

For more information on SDL Property Partners, visit, call 03336 663 111 or email

12th September 2017
Earl Kendrick Associates open new office in Manchester
Earl Kendrick Associates open new office in Manchester

Multi-award-winning surveyors Earl Kendrick Associates are delighted to announce the opening of a new office in Manchester. The move allows the firm to help existing clients with properties in the area, as well as taking on instructions from new clients in Manchester and the wider northwest. It also marks the further expansion of the London-based surveyors, who opened an office in Brighton last summer.

Earl Kendrick’s Manchester office will offer the full range of surveying services, from flat buying surveys to planned maintenance and major works in residential blocks. It will also embody Earl Kendrick’s signature working philosophy, with a focus on treating clients first and foremost as people, and using technical expertise to meet their needs.

Earl Kendrick’s managing director Julian Davies said, “The team and I are really excited about the opening of our Manchester office. Following the expansion to Brighton last year, it shows that we’re very much on a roll, and we look forward to helping clients in Manchester and beyond.”

5th September 2017
The Association of Freeholders
The Association of Freeholders

Recently launched, the Association of Freeholders (TAF) aims to be a united voice for freeholders, to ensure public perception is accurate and reflects the professionalism of members and to offer self regulation as an alternative to potential government regulation.  There has never been a better nor more critical time to focus our energy to protect our reputations and our industry and to strengthen our mutual interests. Through TAF you can now have a united voice, a code of conduct and a stamp of approval to show the public members are responsible and professional. 

TAF plans to hold it'sfirst conference on 28th September 2017 following the government's consultation. The focus will mainly be on their own consultation with members and potential members who attend. They want to know how our sector would like TAF to represent them, to counter the anti-leasehold sentiments and organisations and to voice all the positives and security freeholders offer. We will discuss and set out a structure for self regulation through TAF and will be inviting industry experts to speak and give their views on how self regulation should work, the governments consultation and what we can expect going forward. 

If you would like to find out more about TAF, click here.

14th August 2017
Bishop & Sewell and Fisher Meredith Agree to Merge
Bishop & Sewell and Fisher Meredith Agree to Merge

The Partners of Bishop & Sewell and Fisher Meredith are pleased to announce that Fisher Meredith has joined forces and merged with Bishop & Sewell. The combined practice will operate as “Bishop & Sewell LLP” with effect from 14 August 2017. Bishop & Sewell will continue to be led by its current management team comprising Stephen Bishop (Founder and Managing Partner), Michael Gillman (Senior Partner) and Mark Chick (Partner). Following the merger, key partners from Fisher Meredith including Eileen Pembridge and Louise Barretto will join the Bishop & Sewell team.

Bishop & Sewell was established in 1979 by Stephen Bishop and Jill Sewell and was originally known for its strong property and commercial reputation. Since then the firm has steadily expanded into a full service firm covering Residential & Commercial Property, Corporate & Commercial, Employment, Family, Tax & Trusts and Dispute Resolution services for families, businesses and entrepreneurs.

Fisher Meredith was founded in 1975 by Eileen Pembridge, current Senior Partner and Head of Family, and offers a wide range of legal services covering Family, Property, Immigration and Employment law, serving individuals and businesses.

The merger is part of Bishop & Sewell’s continued planned expansion strategy and will strengthen its Family and Dispute Resolution practices, as well as creating a new Immigration department for the firm, with a team of people perfectly aligned with it culture and values. The combined firms will operate from Bishop & Sewell’s Russell Square offices in London WC1.

Michael Gillman, Senior Partner of Bishop & Sewell commented:
“With Fisher Meredith, we have found a firm which complements and strengthens our existing offering and will enhance our commitment and ability to serve our clients in Central London, nationally and abroad. There are great synergies between our two firms which will enable us to continue to serve our new combined client base with a wide range of legal services and generate further growth.”

Eileen Pembridge, Senior Partner of Fisher Meredith said:
“We can now build on our success of the last 42 years by merging with a larger law firm and look forward to supporting and expanding our footprint with the deeper resources of Bishop & Sewell. This merger allows us to provide more comprehensive legal services to our clients, together with the same high quality, competitive and caring service our clients expect.”

This merger will see Bishop & Sewell’s team of fee earners increase to over 50, with a full service remit across five core areas of Property, Commercial, Private Client, Litigation and Family, with an international reach via our membership of Pragma, an international network of lawyers and consulting firms.

3rd August 2017
Earl Kendrick Associates welcomes Graeme Parslow
Earl Kendrick Associates welcomes Graeme Parslow

 Earl Kendrick Associates are delighted to announce that Graeme Parslow has joined the company as a Technical Associate and Team Leader. As well as being an experienced building surveyor with excellent technical expertise, Graeme has an MBA and will bring his business acumen into the company by assisting with APC coaching as well as long-term strategy.


19th July 2017
Firstport Announces First Acquisition
Firstport Announces First Acquisition

FirstPort is delighted to announce the acquisition of Pentland Estate Management, which was owned by Linden Homes and is their property management provider.  Linden Homes is owned by FTSE 250 construction and housebuilding company Galliford Try and this is the first acquisition since the launch of FirstPort in 2015.

 FirstPort Chief Executive, Nigel Howell said:

“FirstPort is already the largest residential property services manager in the UK, but complacency is not in our DNA – we are 100% committed to reaching our goal of becoming the UK’s leading residential property manager ‘as judged by others’.

 “We have innovative systems and processes in place to achieve this and are progressing well with our employees more engaged than ever and increasingly positive customer feedback being received. As our service and reputation improves, our retention rate strengthens and is currently standing at 97% and despite a stagnant housing market and uncertain economic and political environment, we are seeing record growth as more clients appoint us.

 “So it is exciting times and as part of our growth strategy, we are delighted to be bringing Pentland into the mix and welcoming their 12,000 customers to our business. Our mission is to make life easier for our customers: providing a local, trusted and responsive service for residents that delivers not just bricks and mortar - but a place they love to call home. We are looking forward to ensuring both colleagues and customers are able to enjoy the benefits that working for a company with our scale and scope can bring and ensuring we provide the best possible property management service to even more people across the country”

 Tom Nicholson, Divisional Chairman at Linden Homes continued “Linden Homes and Pentland Estate Management have always been committed to delivering a level of service to our customers that we can be proud of.  We were determined to ensure that any acquiring party would share these core values.  We are therefore delighted that Pentland Estate Management has been acquired by FirstPort and their commitment to continue to provide excellent service to our customers.”

 The companies will now be working closely together to ensure a robust and detailed transition plan is in place to aid as smooth a handover as possible for both companies’ staff, clients and customers. 

15th July 2017
UK's Top Managing Agents Recognised
UK's Top Managing Agents Recognised

The winners of ARMA’s (the Association of Residential Managing Agents) inaugural ACE Awards were revealed at a glittering ceremony at Tobacco Dock in London’s east end on Friday 7th July 2017. Attended by more than 450 industry professionals, the Awards were introduced to celebrate excellence and exceptional achievement by the UK's leading residential managing agents, their suppliers and the work of their people in improving the lives of over a million leaseholders across the country.

The 13 winners were announced following a rigorous adjudicating process by a panel of independent judges. Tobacco Dock provided a stunning backdrop to a fun-packed evening of live music, fine dining and exciting entertainment.

Dr Nigel Glen, ARMA CEO, said: “The winners are a real credit to the industry and I know what a hard job the judges had in deciding who should go home with a trophy from so many outstanding finalists. The winning firms and team members are setting the standard for companies that wish to be recognised for achieving excellence and best practice in their field.”

The young people’s homeless charity, Centrepoint, was ARMA’s charity partner for the evening and a magnificent sum of £2,500 was raised for the cause.

Full list of winners:

  • Smaller Managing Agent of the Year - Plymouth Block Management
  • Medium Managing Agent of the Year - Realty Management
  • Larger Managing Agent of the Year - Rendall & Rittner
  • On-site Staff Member of the Year - Jamie Whalley, Braemar Estates
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Firm of the Year - Rendall & Rittner
  • Service Charge Accountant of the Year - Charlotte Perrott, FirstPort Bespoke Property Services
  • Apprentice of the Year - Oliver Fanthorpe, Michael Laurie Magar
  • Property Woman of the Year - Emily Orner, SPL Property Management
  • Customer Service Award - Rendall & Rittner
  • Unsung Hero - Tom Dugdale, Braemar Estates
  • Provider of the Year - Cleankill Pest Control
  • Service Charge Accountancy Firm of the Year - Haines Watts
  • Industry Supplier of the Year - Future Lighting

The Awards are open to ARMA members, associates, partners, affiliates and external suppliers to ARMA members and include several categories not covered by other awards. Entries into the 2018 Awards will open later in the year:

13th July 2017
Resident joins the RICS Technology Affiliate Program
 Resident joins the RICS Technology Affiliate Program

Resident® is proud to announce that it has joined the RICS Technology Affiliate Program intended to increase awareness and adoption of technology in the Real Estate and Built Environment sectors, benefiting both RICS professionals and the wider market.

Director, Kate Boyes MRICS, who has been a member of the RICS since 2004 and whose firm Resident® is regulated by the RICS states "I have been a proud member of the RICS since qualifying in 2004 and my sales and lettings business became regulated by the RICS when I became a partner in 2007 as I have always been committed to promoting their standards and best practice throughout everything we do. I founded our proptech business, Resident®, in 2014 as I saw the impact technology was having on the industry, something that is gathering in pace everyday. I am therefore extremely proud to become a member of the Technology Affiliate Program to further promote RICS awareness and standards in the proptech world."

On the launch of the Tech Affiliate Program, Dan Hughes Director of Data and Information Product Management at the RICS commented "Data and technology has been used for many years across the built environment and has, to a degree, changed how we do things. However, more recently we have seen a faster pace of change in the built environment and how professionals carry out their roles.

In recognition of this change and the importance that technology companies have on our sector, we are delighted to launch the Tech Affiliate Program (TAP). The purpose of the program is to support awareness and thought leadership across the sector, specifically relating to the impact of technology, and to support professionals with the adoption of standards."

Further information on the RICS Technology Affiliate Program can be found on the RICS website

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