Inflated “fleecehold” private estate management contracts came under scrutiny yesterday in the Commons yesterday, as exasperated MPs yet again waded-in to our tax-payer subsidised house builders.
The debate was called by Helen Goodman, Labour MP for Bishop Aukland, (above) who described the proliferation of private estate income streams as “a scandal. There has clearly been mis-selling.”
She thanked Cathy Priestley and Halima Ali of the Homeowners Rights Network—HorNet—campaign group
HorNet – NO to fleecehold! | Campaigning for a fair deal for all home owners on privately managed estates
Helen Goodman MP has organised a Westminster Hall debate on estate charges. It is on Tuesday 22nd January at 4.30pm. It is not too late to email your MP to ask if they could support this initiative to put pressure on the housing minister to act and address the problems we are facing.
“If offered the choice between a leasehold property and a freehold property, most prospective homebuyers would opt for freehold. Who would not want the permanent and absolute tenure of their property, with all the freedom and security that promises?
“However, the large property developers—Barratt, Bellway, Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey—sell properties that are not free from hold but come with financial obligations and restrictive covenants administered by property management companies such as Greenbelt, Gateway, FirstPort and Trinity Estates, which take ownership of communal spaces once the developer has moved off the site.”
Owners of newly-built homes are being stung for unexpected annual fees of hundreds of pounds which they weren’t told about during the sale, MPs have warned. The proud owners of new homes have been shocked to discover they are liable to pay for the maintenance of nearby playgrounds, car parks or grass verges, on top of their council tax.
Justin Madders, Labour MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, who has been a leading figure in the leasehold campaign, said:
“What is wrong with just building and selling family homes?
“Why are buyers being subjected to covert efforts to squirrel in extra income? Is the sector so avaricious that it has to squeeze every last penny out of young families who have to scrimp and save just to get on the housing ladder?
“As with ground rent, consent fees and leaseholds, our plc house builders have had £8 billion of help through the Help to Buy scheme.
“They have trousered that assistance to rip off customers in their own schemes. Developers simply cannot be trusted to play fair with their customers, or with us, as wider taxpayers.”
Mr Madders also referenced “reliance on a small group of developers has been a very poor deal for the taxpayer, and was the backdrop against which the leasehold scandal emerged”.
He added: “It cannot be right that the companies that are guilty of the industrial-scale rip-offs that we have heard about regarding both leaseholds and the issue being discussed today are the same ones that we end up relying on to get out of our very real and damaging housing crisis.”
Mark Tami MP also waded into the fleecehold dispute: