“Both the Secretary of State Sajid Javid MP and the Housing Minister Gavin Barwell MP have been looking closely at the issue of leasehold houses and escalating ground rents,” the DCLG tells a leaseholder activist today.
“And, as both have said in Parliament, they are absolutely determined to stamp out unfair, unjust and unacceptable abuse of the leasehold system.”
Ministers are asking the Law Commission to consider transparency of the sales process and terms of the lease.
It is already examining retirement housing “and we are hopeful there may be lessons learned and recommendations that can be applied to the wider residential leasehold sector in the future”, it adds.
“In terms of developers marketing new housing developments as leasehold, the Government’s view is that it is a practice that, while not technically illegal, exposes a gulf between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law.
“If developers give prospective purchasers choices in how they purchase a property and its tenure, they must be clear about what each option entails.
“This includes being up front about fees and how these change over time. Buyers are protected by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 which places a ban on unfair practices, including misleading omissions. Anyone purchasing a property, however, should seek independent legal advice.”
The letter concludes “… we are working closely with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Leasehold and Commonhold which is currently focusing on raising awareness of some of the issues you have raised.”