Jolyon Harrison, the CEO of Gleeson Homes, has demanded that ground rent speculators Landmark Investments remove an endorsement by Gleeson for its services.
Landmark Investments is run by Mark Hawthornthwaite – aka as Mark Hawthorn – who has been defending ground rents speculations in a Twitter spat with leasehold activists of the National Leasehold Campaign.
It’s also been misunderstood by many homebuyers and subsequently misrepresented by some campaigners who dont have an understanding (ie “abolish leasehold” with no real idea of the consequences or replacement option)
— Landmark Investments (@LandmarkInvsGrp) September 29, 2018
In September 2017 Mr Harrison told the All Party Parliamentary Group of his strong disapproval of leasehold game playing and leasehold houses in particular.
But the following endorsement appears on the website of Landmark Investments:
The page is / was here
The endorsement appears along with praise from Tom Bloxham MBE of Urban Splash, Wainhomes, Charles Church and BGL Partners.
Mr Harrison told LKP:
“This one got us scratching our heads, there hasn’t been anyone with that job title employed by us for some years.
“You will recall that I joined Gleeson in 2009 just after our Southern house building company had been closed and at this point we totally abandoned any thoughts about leasehold.
“There were some leasehold sites at that time and the leases were sold to a variety of businesses including Landmark; there were no punitive escalating clauses.
“I assume that this is when someone at Gleeson gave landmark the testimonial. There have been a few minor tidying-up sales since then but nothing significant and nothing with escalation clauses.
“Following receipt of your email we have pointed out to Landmark that the testimonial is old and doesn’t really apply anymore and we have asked them to remove it from their website.
“Thank you for pointing this out to me. Let me know if you find any more!”
In September 2017 mr Harrison told the APPG:
“I’ve always made a decent profit building ordinary freehold houses. If a developer is lining its pockets with leasehold then it shouldn’t. It should be against the company’s corporate social responsibility code.”
Earlier this year Mr Harrison demanded an apology from Justin Madders MP for raising Gleeson’s permission fee charges in a Commons debate.
In the response to LKP, Mr Harrison said that its permission fee structures were being misrepresented: it only charged up to £200 when legitimate costs were incurred.
However, LKP has been sent another of the Gleeson advice sheets stating that permission fees “start at £200”.
We asked for clarification of this point as well and Mr Harrison replied:
“I have no intention of increasing the charge any time soon, to which you may ask me why I don’t fix it at £200. It’s because I want the flexibility to charge more if necessary.
“I cited the case of the person who kept changing their mind when we charged them £300. I don’t think this is keeping our customers awake at night.
“We know that we take an opposite approach to others, but we take the opposite approach to them on most things …
“We sell 92% of our houses to first time buyers.
“We sell 87% of our houses to people under the age of 35
“Last year we sold 85 houses to people aged 21 or under, 12 of whom were teenagers.
“31% of our houses are sold by recommendation from an existing customer.
“Our 2 bedroom brick built semi-detached house with front and back gardens and a drive down the side typically sells for £100,000 and if this is bought with Help to Buy and a 35 year repayment mortgage the repayments are £54 a week; typical council house rent is £80 a week.
“Other house builders sell houses to people who already have one whereas we sell houses to people who haven’t … it gives us a totally different perspective.
@katiejane13uk @WilliamsEllisCS It’s also been misunderstood by many homebuyers and subsequently misrepresented by some campaigners who dont have an understanding (ie “abolish leasehold” with no real idea of the consequences or replacement option)