The Leasehold Knowledge Partnership has long despaired at the lack of information about leases offered by estate agents selling the properties.
Of course, no one purchasing a property should pay much or any attention to the sales-directed information offered by estate agents. But basic details about the products is customary in other areas of commerce.
It is even worse with off-plan purchases from developers. Here, purchasers take a leap in the dark when putting deposits down on leasehold properties without having a clue what they are buying – beyond, perhaps, the length of the lease.
Pressure is increasing on agents and portals to ensure leasehold terms are spelled out in all property listings, amid concerns that there will be a government crackdown on mis-selling. IT professional and blogger Peter Ellis Jones analysed 1,041 recent listings of new-build properties in London on Rightmove.
Anyone contemplating purchase of a leasehold property should ask for a copy of the lease at the outset – and go no further with it until the lease is provided.
This information would have been provided in the scrapped Home Information Packs idea introduced by the New Labour government – and scrapped after estate agents organised a campaign against them backed by organisations like the Daily Mail, which had no serious interest in the issue beyond making political points.
The Conveyancing Association, directed by Beth Rudolph, is seeking the re-introduction of Home Information Packs under another name for leasehold properties.
This is because sales of leaseholds routinely break down, and freeholders and their minions load the sales with bogus fees.
One of the main reasons why leaseholders do not pursue conflicts with their freeholders is because they know they can – if they are bloody minded enough – sabotage a sale.
And giving up and selling is how the majority of leasehold disputes are resolved.
LKP congratulates data blogger Peter Ellis Jones for his work:
Does £388,000 represent value for money for this flat? It’s impossible to tell because the listing omits basic information like tenure type, lease length, ground rent etc. The Office of National Statistics numbers show that of 13,493 new builds sold in London in 2018, 94% were leaseholds.