Weekly column by Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie. 

I WELCOMED the government including leasehold reform in the recent King’s Speech because here in the Stroud district there are widespread concerns about some property management companies exploiting people with punitive charges.

In a nutshell some businesses demand extensive and variable service charge fees without transparency or accountability.

Constituents from Hardwicke, Stonehouse, Dursley and Nailsworth have raised issues with me over the last few years.

What often happens is the companies seek money for maintenance work but there are often worries from homeowners about the quality, cost or necessity of some works being carried out, particularly in new build estates.

It is fair for homeowners to challenge or enforce maintenance works to a satisfactory level.

As well as working on this locally, I have been active in Parliament for some time too. Myself and other MPs have successfully secured a commitment for legislation from the government announced in the King’s Speech.

I have set up a Downing Street petition about these freehold management charges that local people can sign so the Prime Minister and his ministers know about the scale of the problem ahead of any proposed legislation.

The link is here: siobhanbaillie.org.uk

I am writing to a host of councils across the district to highlight the issue and to ask them to get involved in the petition. We need as many people as possible to sign the petition and please share local views and experiences.

These will form the basis of my work in parliament to help frame the upcoming legislation to best help local people. I believe we can make a difference on this if myself and councils work together.

Some companies do act responsibly but we need to get the government to ensure that this good management company practice shines through, that homeowners are protected from often random and excessive charges and that the legislation is up to date.