The entire parasitic structure of leasehold in England and Wales is, finally, beginning to wobble – and with a bit more prodding we could see it crash. The long campaign led by Sebastian O’Kelly at the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership has had its first success, with the government proposing a ban on new leasehold houses, while new flats will see ground rents cut to zero.
In a third article today, Patrick Collinson, personal finance editor of the Guardian, says:
“The entire parasitic structure of leasehold in England and Wales is, finally, beginning to wobble – and with a bit more prodding we could see it crash.”
He says he could fill his pages every week with leasehold scandals.
He pays tribute to the efforts of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership – omitting only the crucial work of trustee Martin Boyd, who endless argues the leaseholders’ case with civil servants, sector stooges (called “stakeholders”, and given far more platform than they deserve) and others who, in one way or another, have livelihoods ultimately paid for by leaseholders.
In this article, Patrick turns his attention to James Wyatt, the chartered surveyor of Parthenia, who is challenging the whole valuation model of leases: the Mundy v Sloane Stanley Estate which is heading for the Court of Appeal in January and doubtless the Supreme Court after that.
It goes to the heart of the revenue generation of leasehold and is a scandal than dwarfs leasehold houses.
“In the longer term we need to find ways to make leasehold a thing of the past. Some daft property “experts” insist it has to remain for apartments, ignoring the fact that it has been abolished in almost every part of the world. Happily, we have legislation that allows for “commonhold” where everyone in an apartment block part-owns the land the property is on. The government could simply insist all new flats are sold on a commonhold basis.
“But what to do about existing leaseholds? Of course, greedy freeholders who have ruthlessly exploited leaseholders will demand “compensation”. As Sir Peter Bottomley MP says, slave traders used the same arguments when their “assets” were taken away.”