Justin Madders, MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, called for an urgent review of the LEASE Chair in Parliament today. In his strongest statement yet, Madders explained that the LEASE Chair “Roger Southam has extensive previous business interests with freeholders and has even boasted of maximising ground rent opportunities for them”
The exchange in Parliament can be seen HERE
- Justin Madders
“The Leasehold Advisory Service should play an important role in providing advice to leaseholders. However, the current chair Roger Southam has extensive previous business interests with freeholders and has even boasted of maximising ground rent opportunities for them. Can Ministers not see how that looks? In order to regain leaseholders’ confidence, will Ministers agree to an urgent review into the suitability of Mr Southam to continue as chair?”
- Gavin Barwell
“I am well aware of the hon. Gentleman’s passion for this issue; he spoke powerfully in a debate on this matter a few weeks ago. I recently announced that funding for LEASE will continue to come purely from the Government so that no one can be in any doubt that its job is to stand up for the interests of leaseholders.”
Disappointingly, Minister Barwell did not answer the question put by Mr Madders, but instead proffered that there can be no doubt LEASE’s job is to act in the interest of leaseholders.
Although we accept the Minister believes it has been LEASE’s job to stand up for the interests of leaseholders we have to say that LKP are in no doubt they have not done so for many years. Yes, they have helped some leaseholders, but they have also chosen to help too many developers, landlords, managing agents and professionals in the sector, and sometimes helped them to exploit leaseholders. They have also stayed silent over abuses in the sector for far too long.
The Chief Executive of LEASE, Anthony Essien, has been in place for nearly a decade and has argued vociferously with LKP for at least 7 years that there is nothing wrong with speakers at his LEASE conference training delegates how to maximise their income from leaseholders. In 2014 Anthony Essien again set out his view that “the Leasehold Advisory Service can help guide leaseholders, landlords and lawyers alike”.
The most blatant example of double standards was a talk, endorsed by LEASE at their conference in 2010, where a speaker explained to the delegates how they could maximise profits from buying ground rent freeholds. We hope the Minster and his advisors note, with more than a little irony, that this is one of the key problems they now have to solve. We hope Justin Madders notices that this is the issue he has to deal with among his aggrieved constituents, who have purchased their leasehold houses using the governments help to buy scheme.