UPDATE January 2 2019: MHCLG officials inform LKP today that the email to leaseholders saying that they had submitted blank response information to the leasehold reform consultation was sent out “in error”.
They are being contacted again today. Officials informed LKP:
“We want to reassure you and the APPG that we want to hear views from all those who sought to respond to the consultation – this is extremely important to Ministers and the Department to help us get the detail of the policies right.
“Therefore, we are contacting those individuals from whom we have received a blank return so they can submit their views. We will give them a further 3 weeks and ask for responses by 25 January 2019.
“I also want to let you know that we have already received hundreds of fully or partially completed responses from individuals which are being considered as part of our analysis of responses. We want to make sure everyone who wanted to provide a response is heard, and their views will be included in the analysis.”
“Therefore I think the whole validity of the consultation is questionable and it should be re-opened for all, not just the ones they received that were blank.” An MHCLG spokesman said: “We are determined to reform the leasehold sector for the better to support more homeowners, which is why we recently ran a technical consultation seeking views on the detail of our proposals.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has confirmed some responses to the leasehold reform consultation have gone missing. The government department had launched a consultation last year, which ran from October 15 to November 26, seeking feedback on how to implement the government’s reforms to the leasehold system in England.
Responses by leaseholders to the leasehold reform consultation of the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government have turned out to be blank and won’t be considered.
The National Leasehold Campaign says: “We are receiving messages from many concerned leaseholders that they have received an email from the Ministry for Housing saying their response to the consultation will not be counted as their responses to the consultation were empty.
“Many of these leaseholders have assured us they did complete the consultation questions and didn’t just complete their names and addresses as today’s email states.
“This is very concerning.”
It is not known how many responses have gone missing.
Katie Kendrick, co-founder of the NLC, said: “Myself and Jo Darbyshire met the Ministry for Housing leasehold team before Christmas and they mentioned that approximately 1,000 responses had been received without a response in the content areas. They only gave people’s names and addresses.
“They asked us if we had tried to increase the number of submissions by encouraging people to do this to get up the numbers up. To which we responded that this was not the case.
“It appears there may if been a blip in the system and it’s unfair that leaseholders views will not be heard.”
Leaseholders have spend hours of unpaid time completing government consultation after consultation – while monetisers in the sector are remunerated for their submissions by employers.
Now it appears that a sizeable quantity, and possibly a very large number indeed, have simply been lost by the ministry’s automated response system.
Similar problems were reported with the Communities Select Committee website response system, and leaseholders instead sent in emails.
It is absolutely scandalous that leaseholders’ responses are not considered, while the doors to civil servants and ministers appear to be wide open to paid lobbyists in the sector (who repeatedly decline to meet with consumers).
This needs sorting out urgently.
Those who provided only names an addresses need to be contacted to complete their consultation immediately, or the consultation period needs to be extended.