Ellesmere Port & Neston MP, Justin Madders was pleased to lend his support when leasehold campaigners from across the country descended on Westminster for a lively and good-spirited demonstration.
The campaigners, who later presented a petition at 10 Downing Street, are seeking to highlight unfair terms in the sale of thousands of new homes across the country. Traditionally, houses have been sold as freehold, and the buyer has complete control over their property. But in the last two decades, large developers began to sell their property as leasehold and campaigners argue that they were not properly informed of onerous clauses including escalating ground-rents and costly permission fees to alter their homes.
At the time estates were built, buyers were typically assured they could buy the freehold for around £3,000-£4,000. However, after the estate was finished, the developer would make a large profit by selling the freeholds on to secretive companies, which are often based off-shore in tax havens. When homeowners ask to buy the freehold back, they are frequently asked for £40,000 or more.
Justin Madders MP has played a leading role in Parliament in the campaign for reform and has already secured a ban on the future sale of houses on a leasehold basis. He is currently seeking a simplified and cheaper system to enable leaseholders to purchase the freehold of their homes and introduced a Private Members Bill in Parliament. The Government subsequently asked the Law Commissioners to look at a new system.
The Law Commissioners released the first indication of their plans today, with one proposal being a simple formula where leaseholders will pay just 10 times their current ground rent to convert their property from leasehold to freehold. Its second option is to standardise the existing regime for leasehold valuations, removing a complicated element called “marriage value” that it said currently increases the cost paid by leaseholders.
Commenting Justin Madders MP said:
“I was extremely pleased to welcome so many campaigners to Westminster and to support their work in highlighting the scandalous practices of some of the country’s biggest developers.
“Attention much once again be drawn to Ellesmere Port’s own Katie Kendrick, who plays a leading role in the national campaign and is absolutely tireless in her efforts.
“The latest proposals by the Law Commissioners contain some welcome measures. But they will fail if they result in a complex system. This would perpetuate a completely unbalanced system, which would continue to allow freeholders to game the system for their own benefit.
“I’ll continue to fight to give leaseholders the right to purchase the freehold of their properties using a simple process and most importantly, at a fair price.”