A demonstration of all leaseholders is to take place outside Parliament on September 16 at 1pm.
The aim is to urge on MPs the vital importance of reforming this disastrous system of property tenure, which explains the unending misery heaped on flat owners in England and Wales by the cladding / building safety scandal.
Scotland, which does not have this rip-off form of tenancy, will follow the Australian approach to the cladding crisis: it has already sorted most of these issues out, whereas England is fumbling around in the dark, four years after Grenfell.
The rally also aims to urge on the government to enact the leasehold reforms long argued by the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on leasehold and commonhold reform: headed by Sir Peter Bottomley, Justin Madders and Daisy Cooper.
It is vital for the viability of future reforms – including the reinvigoration of commonhold title, which is how flats are organised in the rest of the world – that new ground rents are eradicated from future leases under the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill presently before Parliament.
The sector would dearly love to obfuscate this and continue surreptitious income streams in the homes of ordinary families – just as plc housebuilders have done with private estate charges, or “fleecehold”.
Again and again our much subsidised and out of control housebuilders have shown that they will take any taxpayer payola going – and still shaft their customers: with doubling ground rents; execrable build quality; fleecehold; rip-off service charges; the racket of leasehold block insurance; and selling off the freeholds to dodgy private equity punters, hiding their identities via offshore entities.
There needs to be a massive clear-out of the housebuilding sector – and its terracotta army of parasitical professionals who feed off the cheated consumers.
Unfortunately, as the Financial Times and The Spectator have agreed, this government and the Conservative Party is substantially bought by property interests, which are by far the largest single group of donors.
This is why a demonstration outside Parliament is vital.
To firm up the resolve of lukewarm ministers to see through the reforms LKP and the Law Commission have been urging, and to show all MPs that the sizeable – and growing – constituency of families living in flats are deeply dissatisfied.
It is time for cheated consumers to rally and say: Enough is enough!
Ted Baillieu, the former Liberal premier of Victoria, headed the cladding task force in Australia which has substantially resolved its cladding disaster.
As he told MPs of the APPG last month: “We have been building crap. Dumping loans on residents will not work. We need to unite in a bi-partisan approach to resolve this.”
Four years on from Grenfell, our approach to the cladding crisis is still an incoherent mess as last month demonstrated with the Building Safety Bill:
The priority of officials has been to cover up their former incompetence and complicity with property interests – privatising the British Research Establishment etc – and to ensure that all stakeholders never meet together and attempt to resolve this, as the Australians have successfully done.
One former official is even an investor in a waking watch provider, thereby profiting from this hideously expensive debacle.
If you feel that there is something rotten in the core of our property sector, the way it is subsidised by all of us and way it is regulated, demonstrate on September 16.
If you are facing thousands of pounds in bills as a result of cladding, you have absolutely nothing to lose.
Billions of pounds of public money is going to be poured into the hands of freehold-owning punters and their appointed stooge property managers to remediate cladding. Again and again they have demonstrated their sticky fingers.
At present, no one can be bothered to impose proper oversight over this, and the grisly property professionals who have played the leasehold system whenever the opportunity has presented itself, are in for another feast at the trough.
The demonstration is jointly organised by End Our Cladding Scandal, National Leasehold Campaign and the leaseholders’ charity, the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership.
Enough is enough! Demonstrate on September 16