… And ‘leaseholder voices’ video launched, in initiatives from the National Leasehold Campaign
The National Leasehold Campaign’s (NLC) Petition to ‘Abolish Leasehold & Introduce Regulation For Residential Managing Agents’ has reached 10,500 signatures. It calls for the government to announce a Select Committee Inquiry into the leasehold scandal.
This comes at a crucial time when leaseholders futures are being decided within government.
The leasehold scandal is a sorry tale of corporate greed at the expense of millions of people aspiring to be home owners. New build homes, fuelled by the Government’s help to buy scheme, were sold as leasehold, many with onerous doubling ground rents and stinging permission fees to make alterations to the properties.
Katie Kendrick, founder of the NLC said:
“Millions of people have been mis-sold their homes, many using Help to Buy. We hear daily of the effects that the stress, worry and misery of being trapped in this nightmare is having on people. It’s a David versus Goliath battle with people power up against the might of resources and deep pockets of the developers and freeholders. The Government needs to get those responsible in front of a Select Committee and give them the Philip Green treatment.”
The leasehold scandal will also hit the taxpayer as Help to Buy loans are repaid on properties that are now worth substantially less than they were when the homes were purchased. Cath Williams, co-founder of the NLC, adds “Surely the Government needs to understand how and why these onerous leases and ridiculous permission fees were implemented. Who knew what and when? What links exist between the developers and the investment companies that bought the freeholds from them soon after the houses were bought? How many onerous leases are there across the country?”
The Government has committed to leasehold reform and a ban on the sale of new leasehold houses. Katie explains “While we welcome the Government’s announcements on the ban of new homes going forward they need to understand that they need to help those of us already caught up in this nightmare. They are creating a two-tier system for those of us with existing leaseholds.”
Jo Darbyshire, co-founder of the NLC, owns a Taylor Wimpey home with ground rent that doubles every 10 years and has recently been offered the option to convert the doubling ground rent to a ground rent that increases in line with RPI.
“Taylor Wimpey have been very clever in publicising that they are solving the problem with onerous ground rents, but my ground rent stops doubling after 50 years, whereas the RPI increases apply for the whole term of my 250 year lease. Over the term of my lease the total ground rent payable under doubling is c. £2m. If RPI remains at the same rate as today the total ground rent payable over the term of my lease increases to £25.7m. And if RPI was 5% for the term of the lease, a jaw dropping £930m. This is not a fix; we are just kicking the ground rent bomb down the road. If I accept the offer, which could make buying my freehold cheaper, I also have to sign a settlement agreement that could prevent me from giving evidence to a Select Committee. That’s one of the reasons that we need one now.”
Katie Kendrick, founder of the NLC says:
“Leaseholders feel they have nothing more they can loose but have everything to gain from getting their voices heard. This is the best opportunity in decades to influence real change. The Leasehold Scandal has touched so many people in so many ways it’s a tangled web.”
The NLC have made a video to highlight some examples of how the leasehold scandal has impacted on people’s lives.
“We wanted to illustrate how the Leasehold Scandal affects the entire age continuum, houses and flats, doubling leases and RPI Leases. We have tried to capture the emotional impact this is having on peoples lives. It is a living nightmare for so many people. The impact on peoples mental health and well-being is immense”
The NLC would encourage people to help share this video along with the petition so we can reach a wider audience.