§ Mr. Lepper
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on progress on the reform of leasehold valuation tribunals. 
§ Ms Armstrong
Service charge disputes are renowned for causing distress and misery to many leaseholders who have, in the past, had to go to court to challenge unreasonable charges, risking unknown and potentially high costs.
From 1 September, leaseholders will be able to apply to the 11 leasehold valuation tribunals, which will use their specialist professional expertise towards settling these disputes. Leaseholders' risks of incurring large legal bills will also be limited, because the tribunals do not award costs. Applicants will, however, have to pay a fee of up to £500 for each application, although the tribunals will have a discretion to require the other party to the dispute to reimburse this fee.
As well as challenging service charge bills for costs already incurred by the landlord, leaseholders will now be able to challenge works which are proposed. Landlords too will be able to seek a determination that the costs or scope of the proposed works are reasonable before they start spending money.
Bad management is a continuing problem for tenants of flats, who will now also be able to apply to the tribunal instead of the county court for the appointment of a new manager, if the tribunal is satisfied that the landlord has determined, or is likely to demand excessive service charges, or that he has failed to comply with a relevant provision of one of the three approved codes of management practice available.