West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has backed local home-owners who feel ripped off by their leasehold contracts, calling for the Government to launch an inquiry into the scandal of missold leasehold homes.   

An estimated 21.9% of homes in West Lancashire have been sold as leasehold in the most recent year for which data is available and a total of 4.3 million properties across England – almost one in five of all homes – are classified as leasehold.   

This arrangement, which is most common for flats, means homes are bought but leased rather than entirely owned, with leaseholders often paying a ‘ground rent’ as well as service charges to the property freeholder, or to a managing agent acting on their behalf.  

Homeowners who purchased the leasehold of their property are often locked into contracts which force them to seek permission to make basic alterations or to build extensions such as conservatories, despite no planning permission being required.   

Some leaseholders find they’re obliged to pay extortionate ground rents, while others are locked into rip-off service charges. Many didn’t choose their own solicitor and feel they were poorly advised when purchasing their home. Survey data suggests almost six in ten leaseholders didn’t understand what being a leaseholder meant until they had already purchased the property, and more than nine in ten leaseholders regret buying a leasehold property at all.  

In the House of Commons this week, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, John Healey MP, challenged Government Ministers to set up an inquiry into the mis-selling of leasehold homes.  

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper, who is also a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Leasehold and Commonhold since its inception in 2016, said:
“Leasehold reform is becoming a growing issue for residents living in estates and apartment blocks developed over the last ten years and for new developments both in West Lancashire and across the county.  

“The government need to take serious action on leasehold to ensure buyers are fully aware of the circumstances in which they are buying their home, and also to regulate the leasehold industry and tackle exploitation.  

“I have previously called on West Lancashire constituents living in a leasehold property to share their experiences with the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee’s inquiry into the Government’s leasehold reform programme, and I await the committee’s findings.”  

Labour’s Housing Secretary, John Healey MP said:
“Leaseholders find they’ve bought their home but still don’t own it, and many feel ripped off by unfair leasehold contracts.   

“This is a national scandal but the Government’s action to date has been too weak, too slow and has overlooked the plight of existing leaseholders. Ministers must act to back an inquiry into this systematic leasehold misselling, as with other misselling scandals like pensions, endowment mortgages and PPI.”  

There are an estimated 4.3 million leasehold dwellings across England: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/750925/Estimating_the_number_of_leasehold_dwellings_in_England__2016-17.pdf   

On 5 November John Healey challenged Ministers to launch an inquiry into mis-selling of leasehold homes: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2018-11-05/debates/7BB500A5-360D-4E8E-9E23-1781F1CECD17/LeaseholdCharges#contribution-F0C6BE34-0EC7-48BB-AE7A-B9AB7A377291  

A national survey conducted by NAEA Propertymark revealed that almost six in ten leaseholders didn’t understand what being a leaseholder meant until they had already purchased the property, and nine in ten regretted buying a leasehold property: http://www.naea.co.uk/media/1047279/propertymark-leasehold-report.pdf  

 

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