It is good to see leasehold reform still very much on the political agenda. There is a debate in the chamber today and I hope that during this debate substantial ground is made towards providing justice to those who have been affected by this scandal.
I am pleased that the Labour Party have highlighted the importance of the issue by this week announcing a proposed new deal for leaseholders.
Labour’s new plan will essentially improve and revitalise commonhold for flats, and make freehold mandatory for all new houses, something that should have happened years ago.
The plan portrays how the next Labour Government aims to end the feudal leasehold system. It will not allow home-owners, many of whom live here in Alyn and Deeside, to be taken advantage of by developers and freeholders.
Although there has been progress made and I am pleased there has been guarantees from a number of developers, there is still a lot more that needs to be done. No more so than for those who have already fallen victim of the scandal.
It is therefore pleasing to see that at the heart of Labour’s plan is justice for those currently affected with new proposals, with assurances to cap ‘ground rents’ at £250 a year, and to allow leaseholders to buy full ownership of their homes by capping costs at 1% of the value of the home.
Labour have also announced a crackdown on unfair fees and contract terms, and a right to challenge unfair fees or poor service; and also new rights to empower leaseholders to hire and fire their managing agent, or to take over management of their homes themselves.
The Government have failed to ban the sale of leasehold houses, despite promising to do so following the ground rents scandal which left 100,000 homeowners in a property they can’t sell.
Only Labour seem to be taking this issue seriously as the Tories have shown their reluctance to fix the broken leasehold model.
Labour’s pledge to end the sale of new private leasehold houses with direct effect and the sale of private leasehold flats by the end of our first term in Government is something I will do my absolute utmost to achieve.