Political parties urged to go further on leasehold reform commitments

Commitments to reform the leasehold system by the Conservatives and Labour Party have been labelled as “insufficient”.

Both parties have referred to ground rent issues in their election manifestos but Louie Burns, managing direction of Leasehold Solutions, which advises on extended and buying out leases, says the policies do not go far enough.

The Conservative Party manifesto includes a commitment to “crack down on unfair practices in leasehold, such as escalating ground rents”.

However, Burns adds that although Prime Minister Theresa May previously stated in Parliament that she “doesn’t see why” developers are selling new-build houses as leasehold, the Tory manifesto stops short of calling for policies to reform other aspects of the leasehold sector, such as banning the sale of new-build leasehold houses.

The Labour Party manifesto goes further, according to Burns promising to give leaseholders “security from rip-off ground rents and end the routine use of leasehold houses in new developments.”

Burns said: “It is encouraging to see that both the Conservatives and Labour are paying attention to some of the problems with leasehold, such as escalating ground rents and the sale of new-build houses as leasehold, particularly as neither party even mentioned leasehold in their 2015 manifestos.

“The policies outlined in the respective manifestos are a first step in the right direction, but they are insufficient to bring about the reforms needed to free home owners from unfair leasehold practices.”

He warned that even if “onerous ground rent” practices are tackled, leaseholders still need more awareness of the fees they can face when trying to extend or purchase their freehold.

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One Comment

  1. Will

    The whole question of leaseholds needs reviewing. Some freeholders rip off leaseholders with excessive charges and insurance commissions. Perhaps it should be mandatory for  all freeholds to be owned by the leaseholders? with shares in the freehold companies being equally shared between lease holders. Food for thought

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