Local newspapers and websites have joined the media furore over the leasehold house scandal.
The latest is the Bury Times with an excellent article in the Bury Times.
It is highly welcomed that local media in the North West are ringing the alarm bells over leasehold. The region has a disproportionate amount of leasehold housing stock from industrial times.
Indeed, three quarters of Bolton housing is leasehold.
Of course, there is a huge difference between your granny paying £3 a year in an old industrial era property, and £295 doubling ground rents dreamed up today.
Modern leasehold houses are complicated financial instruments, as well as homes.
Developers lend the deposit and smooth the sales process so buyers are using solicitors, valuers, mortgage advisors recommended by them.
If the taxpayer funded Help To Buy scheme is being used – it almost always is – then there is even fewer chances of using outside professional advisors.
The result? Leaving aside, foisting leasehold title on the buyers, many have evidently paid far too much for the property.
Solicitor Mari Knowles highlighted these issues to the LKP organised All Party Parliamentary Group on leasehold reform last month.
Leasehold houses and the sales process were ‘absolutely disgusting’, MPs told. But have laws been broken?
This one had brilliant local Southport councillor Pat Keith, posing as a buyer, blowing a raspberry at the nonsense term “virtual freehold”, found on sales literature:
She said: “We were told to our astonishment that all properties, and I quote, ‘are held on a 999 year lease which is virtual freehold.’This statement is repeated in very small print on a sales leaflet and is absolute nonsense.
“There is no such thing as virtual freehold. It is either leasehold or freehold.”
“During our investigations into this growing ‘scandal’ we have learned that some people have begun the purchasing process and only then belatedly discovered that the property is leasehold.”
Then this one in Northampton Chronicle