Traditionally, houses have been sold as freehold and the buyer has complete control over their property. But over the last two decades large developers have begun to sell their properties as leasehold and I know that, in too many cases, buyers have not been properly informed of onerous clauses including escalating ground-rents and costly permission fees to alter their homes.
Barbara continues to be a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Leasehold Reform so that she can join the fight for an end to rip-off fees, to give the right to challenge poor performance from service companies and to give you the right to buy the freehold of your home at an affordable price.
The election manifesto on which Barbara stood in December 2019 promised action for leaseholders. If elected, Labour promised to “end the sale of new leasehold properties, abolish unfair fees and conditions, and give leaseholders the right to buy their freehold at a price they can afford”. A Labour Government would have also introduced equivalent rights for freeholders on privately owned estates.
The Conservative manifesto pledged to “continue with our reforms to leasehold including implementing our ban on the sale of new leasehold homes, restricting ground rents to a peppercorn and providing necessary mechanisms of redress for tenants”.
Up to now, there has been too little decisive action for the Conservative Government on these issues. The reforms that they have promised previously have been weak, they overlook existing leaseholders almost entirely and they have been exceptionally slow to implement any changes at all. In the Queen’s Speech just before Christmas there was no concrete commitment to legislation to reform the broken system of leasehold.
On 6th January 2020, Barbara asked 4 written questions to the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Barbara asked the Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick MP:
- What steps he is taking to tackle the mis-selling of leasehold properties
- What steps he is taking to help ensure that people who have been mis-sold leasehold properties will be compensated
- Whether he is taking steps to enable people who have potentially been mis-sold leasehold properties to purchase the freehold of those properties
- What recent steps he has taken to end the use of escalating ground rents on leasehold properties
Barbara also asked him to make a statement in the House of Commons answering these questions.
The responses to these questions were all very similar and said that the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government is considering the recommendations of the Law Commission on these issues.
The Law Commission’s report was published on 9th January 2020 after a two-year wait and its terms of reference set by the Conservative Government. The report focuses heavily on the human rights of freeholders and not the human rights that leaseholders have over their homes.
Labour has urged the Government to conduct an inquiry into leasehold mis-selling, and to take the steps needed to end leasehold for good. The Government has not commented on that proposal.
On 13th January there was a short debate in the House of Commons on Leasehold Property opened by Labour MP, Rupa Huq. You can read a transcript of this debate at
As the Conservative party have a large majority in Parliament now, it is in their power to make changes to the laws on leasehold and take action to compensate people retrospectively.
Barbara is committed to action which would right the injustices faced by leaseholders locked in unfair contracts and faced with rip-off costs and to ending the broken leasehold model for good.
Following the publication of the Law Commission’s Report and it’s recommendations, Barbara would like to know more about the experiences of leaseholders in Worsley & Eccles South. This is so that she can campaign more effectively and so that she is able to accurately represent leaseholders in Worsley & Eccles South, should the Conservative government respond to the Law Commission’s Report.
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