John Bloor, the founder of Bloor Homes, has donated £400,000 to the Conservative Party, even though his company builds leasehold houses that have been criticised by Theresa May.
Mr Bloor’s donation, made through his company JS Bloor (Services) Limited, was received on May 3.
The news coincides with LKP asking Bloor Homes, and Redrow and Peel Holdings, to account for the sale of leasehold houses at the Worsley Fold site at Salford, greater Manchester.
Bloor Homes and Redrow are building leasehold houses on the site, where the land is owned by Peel Holdings.
On May 11, LKP asked the three companies to explain why the houses were being sold leasehold, especially as the vast majority of sales will be made with assistance from the taxpayer-funded Help To Buy scheme.
Sebastian O’Kelly wrote to Adrian Bloor, Redrow founder Steve Morgan and CEO John Tute, and John Whittaker, CEO of Peel Holdings, to ask:
“As your firms are well established property development companies co-operating at this site, could I ask that all buyers be offered the opportunity to buy the freeholds to their homes at point of sale?
“Is there any legal impediment why they should not do so, given the co-operation of your companies at this site?
“The prime minister has made clear her views of leasehold house sales, and selling tenancies is obviously not what the Help To Buy scheme intended to encourage.
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“I am sure you will agree with the prime minister that houses should be sold with freehold tenure to a new generation of homebuyers, as they have been to previous ones (we acknowledge a historic legacy of leasehold houses from the industrial era in the NW). Particularly as taxpayers are helping them buy.”
The Bloor Homes leases here are 999 years and ground rents are £200pa. On two-three bedroom houses priced from £249,999 to £345,999, these ground rents are within the lending criteria established by Nationwide last week.
Nationwide bans mortgages on doubling ground rent properties
LKP wrote: “We are unaware of other revenue streams here such as consent fees for subletting, pets, conservatories, porches, commercial vehicles on drives and the rest.
“We are unaware of the intentions of Peel Holdings regarding the freehold: whether to retain it, or as elsewhere with plc housebuilders to sell it on to anonymous investors who hide their beneficial ownership behind nominee directors, and are often based offshore.”
LKP acknowledged the corporate social responsibility codes of the three companies and acknowledged their significant charity work in the NW.
“I commend Bloor Homes for its statement on corporate social responsibility, particularly relating to whistleblowers.
“I note that of Peel Holdings, concerned with charities in the NW and the arts. Its corporate social responsibility report can be read here:
“The very generous charitable contributions of Mr Morgan have been nationally reported and are acknowledged by the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership
“You are all long established companies with substantiated engagement with wider society.
“For that reason, I am confident that you will offer proper freehold homeownership to those who want it at point of sale.
“I would also urge you to reconsider ground rents, which surely have no role in society today.”
With these Developers contributing large sums of money to the Conservative Party, it means there is little or no chance of Leasehold reform.
Looking back I see there was a similar situation in 2009, 2010 and 2011 when large donations were made by several Developers.
I expect that was the reason why the newly appointed Housing Minister in 2010, Grant Shapps kicked all hope of reform into touch, and more or less stated that the Freeholders, Landlords and Management companies could regulate themselves.
The excuse was “no more red tape”.
Seven years and five Housing Ministers later, very little has changed and I very much doubt that it will soon.
We shall just have to rely on public pressure (direct action) and Goodwill on the part of the perpetrators, assuming they wish to restore some reputation.
New Home Expert
Can you say which developers made the large donations in previous years?
I would like to see a list.
I know it goes on but cant find the information.
Daily Telegraph 09 Sep 2011 9.43pm by Heidi Blake.
Conservatives given millions of pounds by property developers.
Dozens of property firms have given a total of£3.3million to the party funds over the past three years.
There is more in the article about cash for access.
Coincidently it was Bill Cash MP who organised a meeting of back bench MPs to organise a protest.
The then Housing Minister Grant Shapps was then approached, but we all know where his sympathies would lie.
Donations to all parties, right up to current date can be found on the Electoral Commission website.
The prime minister with her strong and stable government, who wants a fair society should start by abolishing feudal leasehold,. Taxation and regulation of freehold ‘investments’. Is laughable. Managing agents are unregulated, audited accounts non existent …
Leasehold flats are bad enough, but leasehold houses? With help to buy scheme funded by the tax payer is an outrage!
Property in London is being amassed by fewer and fewer individuals, dodgy landlords mostly, carving the places up into bed sits and sucking people dry with high rents. These people have no chance of ever buying their own place.
Or, at the other extreme, super expensive luxury homes that not even relatively highly paid professionals can afford any more.
So, yes, I think it’s time to stop taking donations to perpetuate a fundamentally corrupt system that cannot be reformed – abolishing the whole damn thing is the way forward.
Yes, I agree with Michael H.
No one has done anything meaningful whatsoever regarding leasehold houses that, except in extenuating circumstances, should and can be sold freehold, Only the greed of these builders has caused the current disgrace..
The only one to date that has acted decently is the Nationwide Building society re not giving mortgages on unacceptable leases.
Well done and thank you Nationwide.
I am more than disappointed that other mortgage lenders have not stepped forward and done the same thing.
It would be even better if the mortgage lenders went the whole process and, except in extenuating circumstances, refused to lend on new build leasehold houses.
The Help To Buy Scheme should also be disallowed on leasehold property