Experts Welcome New Landlords' Guidelines

Article excerpt

PROPERTY management experts in the North-east office of Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) have welcomed new guidelines on residential service charges.

However, they warn that without Government legislation, rogue landlords could still mislead lessees, who could end up paying too much for service charges without realising it.

A committee of professional bodies including the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the Association of Residential Managing Agents have issued extensive new guidelines to bring greater transparency in the way agents and landlords manage and account for service charges. The guidelines are aimed at achieving a standardised approach which will protect residents and keep them better informed.

But experts at LSH say that Government legislation is preferable to self regulation, as landlords who are not members of professional bodies will have no obligation to comply.

Graham Oldfield, pictured above, director of property management at LSHs Newcastle office, said: "While we support the changes, they are best-practice guidelines rather than statute, and so risk creating a two-tier system of those landlords who apply good and transparent accounting control for service charges, and those who don't. …