West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has welcomed today’s announcement that the Competition and Markets Authority is launching enforcement action against four big developers believed to have broken consumer protection law in relation to leasehold homes.
However, MP Rosie has written to CMA Chief Executive and the Housing Secretary calling for the addition of Redrow to the list of developers being investigated, which include Barratt, Countryside, Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey.
The action comes after the CMA uncovered troubling evidence of potentially unfair terms concerning ground rents in leasehold contracts and potential mis-selling. It is concerned that leasehold homeowners may have been unfairly treated and that buyers may have been misled by developers.
Rosie Cooper MP has long called for action on Leasehold Reform, including speaking in the Parliamentary Debate last year and has over the summer been pressing the Prime Minister and Housing Secretary to allow Parliamentary time for changes to the law.
Many West Lancashire constituents have approached Rosie seeking support having been mis-sold ground rent, misled on the potential purchase and price of the freehold and subjected to unfair sales tactics such as tight deadlines.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper commented:
“I very much welcome today’s announcement that the Competition and Markets Authority are finally taking action against some of the biggest culprits of the leasehold scandal, however, I note the major omission of Redrow from the list of developers.
“I have constituents who have been misled, being told they can buy the freehold in a couple of years’ time for a few thousand pounds, only to find the freehold has been sold on, with no first refusal being given to the leaseholder.
“I have written to the CMA Chief Executive and the Housing Secretary asking that current action be extended to include investigating Redrow. These matters need urgent investigation and the CMA must surely include Redrow in their action to protect unwary buyers from these modern day Dick Turpins.
“Meanwhile I will continue to push for Leasehold Reform and for Government to honour their 2017 promise to take action.”
Figures show that over 20% of homes in West Lancashire were sold as leasehold in 2016/17 and over 15% in 2018, with many approaching MP Rosie for support when dealing with their leasehold issues.
Speaking in the House of Commons Parliamentary Debate on Leasehold Reform last year, Rosie, who is also a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Leasehold and Commonhold since its inception in 2016, said:
“It appears that we have 18th-century practices operating at 21st-century prices and, more fundamentally, that a person’s home is not really their own, with the freedom to do within it as they please. The issue seems to be that leasehold has strayed into being an extortionate money-making racket at the expense of house owners.
“Owners are forced to pay extortionate ground rents and locked into rip-off service charges, with nearly 60% of them lacking an understanding of their contractual obligations.
“Perhaps leasehold would not be talked about so negatively if leaseholders did not find themselves obliged to Dick Turpin-like companies that require them to stand and deliver—in this case, it is “your money and your home” that they are after.
“We need leasehold reform now. It is in the Government’s power to do it now, and households right across the country demand that they do it now.”