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The Welsh Government has launched a 12-week consultation seeking views on estate management charges, sometimes called “fleeceholds” – a slang term for excessive or hard-to-justify service charges to residents (usually new) housing developments.
“I have heard from many residents who have had a poor experience of these charges, either finding out at a late stage during the purchase that they exist, being faced with steeply escalating demands, or being unable to challenge what they perceive as poor value for money or inadequate service in return for the charges.”
– Local Government & Housing Minister, Julie James (Lab, Swansea West)
The issue has been raised several times in the Senedd chamber during the Fifth Assembly. In 2018, AMs voted to support a motion calling for a law to deal with estate management fees. Dr Hefin David AM (Lab, Caerphilly) said he would like to see, “effective regulation of existing contracts, a cap on charges and the strongest encouragement of local councils to adopt land in the first place.”
The consultation is a call for evidence and no policies have yet been proposed, though the public’s views will likely shape any future policy.
The consultation itself is open until 30th April 2020 – all the details are available here.