Calls for UK Government to urgently sort out ‘abusive’ residential leaseholds on new builds
The need for residential property leasehold change is laid bare by new figures published by the UK Government showing there are 4.2 million properties that fall into this category. That is 200,000 more than had been estimated and has intensified calls for reform of the sale of new build homes with leases which have resulted in home owners being forced to pay escalating ground rents and fees and even being unable to sell their home.
Ministers have pledged to sort out the leasehold scandal after it was revealed that the owners of new builds have seen ground rents rise by thousands of pounds after the developers, the original leaseholders, sold them on to investment companies. A consultation on reform has just completed with the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) saying that it will take what has been said on board and tackle the issues. ‘It is un acceptable that home buyers are being exploited with unjustifiable charges and owners ground rent terms,’ said a DCLG spokesman.
Campaigners against leaseholds hope that selling new homes with leases will be banned but they have criticised the need for such a long process, including the consultation and are calling for more urgent action and also pointing out that it is not just a matter of outlawing these kind of leases but also dealing with home owners trapped by the system. ‘We welcome the Government’s recognition of the injustices in the current system and proposals to ban the sale of new build leasehold houses. But we also need to deal urgently with those already caught in this scandal by curbing extortionate ground rents,’ said a spokesman for the HomeOwners Alliance.