Leasehold properties

On Wednesday the UK government finally announced its intention to ban the sale of leasehold houses. The Welsh government is also going out to consultation. This is very welcome but the announcement was somewhat vague as what they were going to do to help those who already own such properties.

I believe this is one of the biggest scandals that has hit the industry for years and is a particular problem in North Wales and the North West of England. Put simply developers sold properties with leases rather than freehold as would be normal. In many cases purchasers were not aware of the rising costs of ground rent or other charges if they wanted to alter their properties. The worst examples have ground doubling every 5 years and I am aware of householders being asked to pay the leaseholder hundreds of pounds to change the type of flooring or even have a pet! 

Taylor Wimpey have already announced that they have stopped marketing leasehold houses and set aside millions of pounds to sort out outstanding problems. Other developers have said nothing which speaks volumes. Just because something is not illegal it doesn’t mean that it is OK. It isn’t and they knew very well that this was just a cynical way of making extra money on the backs of people who can ill afford it.

I and other members of the all party leasehold group will be pressing the Government to go further and bring forward effective proposals to help existing homeowners. The only way they can have security of tenure is to be able to buy the freehold at a reasonable price as they were promised when they purchased the property.

Developers sold these on to third parties knowing they would use them as a financial product and an income stream. Rather than a few thousand as they were quoted at the time householders are now being held to ransom with tens of thousands demanded. The Government needs to act and act now!