LKP has been contacted by leaseholders angry that the Law Commission is holding public consultation meetings at the offices of freeholder-friendly solicitors.
Yesterday the Law Commission held an event, open to all, at Pinsent Masons in Manchester, and today it is holding one at the Newcastle offices of law firm Womble Bond Dickinson.
Neither venue, it is argued, is the appropriate venue for leaseholders who may be facing serious litigation with their freeholders to express their case and opinions openly.
One caller to LKP said:
“Why on earth is the Law Commission holding meetings in the offices of solicitors who represent freeholders in their disputes with leaseholders?
“Both these companies monetise the leasehold system. Womble Bond Dickinson’s major client is residential freeholder the Northern Trust!
“How can leaseholders express their views openly in such venues?
“Neither solicitors are charities or neutral. The Law Commission should hold its meetings in a neutral space, like a church hall or community centre.
“I thought the Law Commission was supposed to be independent!”
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In fact, the Law Commission project on enfranchisement and commonhold, headed by Professor Nick Hopkins, makes no claim to be neutral: it is tasked with making enfranchisement easier, cheaper and simpler for leaseholders.
Which makes it all the more surprising that it thinks it is worthwhile briefing solicitors, whose incomes derive from the opportunities in the leasehold system.
As a result of this initiative, can we expect rather more carefully honed professional submissions to the Law Commission to keep the leasehold income stream flowing firmly in the direction of freeholders?
Fortunately, the Law Commission can encounter some leaseholders at the meetings organised in Manchester on November 3 and in London on November 10.
What’s new? The system is designed to uphold the status quo. Even the so called ‘going after the landlords’ budget and legislation favours foreign ‘investors’ and large freeholder interests, penalising the amateur accidental landlord.
I don’t understand the difficulty in making freeholders pay their way and thwart their parasitic existence once and for all.. It’s not as if they can take their freeholds and go invest elsewhere.
Interesting choice of venue for the Newcastle Leasehold meeting with the Law Commission on 30th October. Very palatial quayside offices of Womble Bond Dickinson, solicitors.
In a former existence, a few mergers ago, Dickinson Miller and Turnbull acted for Wm Leech and JT Bell (now Persimmon and Bellway) and drew up the 99-year leases that now blight homes in Cramlington, Northumberland.
Pretty well every house and all flats are affected. The freeholds have changed hands many times and we now have Simarc, Shenstone and many others.
Looking back, and I must admit that I don’t have proof, miners’ cottages were sold off by a local landowner and colliery owning family in the 1890s on 99-year leases. Perhaps a good idea repeated? The leases expired in 1993 and many sets of keys were handed back.
The same family had directorships of the Northern Rock. Handy!
Lots of questions here. Oh, by the way the leases ran from 1964 while some of the homes weren’t built util 1973, effectively giving the first occupants 90 years.
I’m sure there were plenty of venues for the Law Commission show available on neutral ground.
Sort of stuck in the throat.
Paul, this shows the complexity allowed by governments who continue to refuse taking action against the Freeholder/Landlords, who continue to provide excessive Service Charges and the Management Fees, which can be exorbitant and not reflect the actual costs involved.
In saying what you have, shows how Dickinson Miller & Turnbull acted for Wm Leech and JT Bell now Persimmon and
Bellway, who drew up the 99 year leases that blight homes in Cramlington, Northumberland.
The fact freeholds have changed hands many times and the fact leases expired in 1993 and keys were handed back to the same family who had directorships of the Northern Rock (I assume this is the bank)?
Leases that ran from 1964 where some of the homes were not built until 1973, also shows the many ways leasehold has been exploited.