The National Leasehold Campaign Facebook group issued the following press release today:
The National Leasehold Campaign (NLC) Facebook Group celebrates its first anniversary on 27th January by topping 10,000 members. The NLC offers support, advice and guidance for 4.2 million leaseholders in England and Wales.
Katie Kendrick, founder of the campaign said: “I never believed when I started the campaign that it would become so big and influential. I am hugely proud of what’s been achieved in our first year, culminating with the Government’s confirmation that new leasehold houses would be banned. However, there’s still a long way to go. The words have been spoken but now is the time we need to see some action. The NLC is campaigning for the abolishment of leasehold; it’s already been abolished in Scotland, so why not in England and Wales?”
The definition of a ‘Scandal’ is ‘an action or event regarded as morally or legally wrong and causing general public outrage’. It is evident that this clearly describes how many are feeling who are caught up in the leasehold scandal.
The Group is working on a new website to help to manage the huge number of enquiries they get from members every day. Katie, who juggles managing the NLC with her demanding job as a children’s nurse, added “We have new members every day who are just starting to realise that they are caught up in this leasehold scandal and we need a website to be able to answer the common questions that people have like “What can I do about my doubling ground rent?”, “How do I buy my freehold?” and “Help, how can I afford to extend my lease?. It is refreshing to see communities joining together to stand up to the outrageous situation we are in, it truly demonstrates the positive impact of people power”.
In addition to the original leasehold issues of onerous ground rents and the onward sale of freeholds to typically offshore investors, the NLC also sees numerous posts about wider housing issues. Katie notes “We are regularly now asked about what we call “fleecehold”, where developers are advertising properties as freehold, but closer inspection of the small print shows that these properties still require the payment of permission fees for things like home alterations – that’s not true freehold; that’s fleecehold. We also get lots of members asking about service charges and estate management fees. Greedy developers, in anticipation of the end of the leasehold gravy train, are already looking for the next money making machine.”
Katie runs the NLC in her spare time, with fellow leaseholders Cath Williams and Jo Darbyshire. The Government does have a lease advisory service, LEASE, but the Group does not refer people to them. Katie adds:
“LEASE is a Government funded advisory service, but we can’t in good faith, refer people to them when the Chairman, Roger Southam, has a clear conflict of interest. His wife has interests in ground rent portfolios. LEASE has been there throughout while this leasehold scandal was allowed to develop and did nothing to stop it.”
The Group does work closely with the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, a charity and also secretariat of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on leasehold and commonhold reform who have been incredibly supportive to leaseholders. The APPG now has over 130 MPs and is one of the largest APPG’s in Parliament.
Jo Darbyshire of the NLC said:
“What’s really striking about the leasehold scandal are the human stories and the impact that this is having on real people on a daily basis. It’s not unusual for us to get posts from people that are really upset and losing sleep because of the stress and costs associated with living in a leasehold home. I’ve spoken a member who is convinced that the stress of being trapped in this leasehold scandal caused her to have a miscarriage. Just this week, we helped a new member who has just become aware of the leasehold scandal and has incurable cancer. We helped to put her in touch with a good solicitor who can try to sort out her doubling ground rent as part of getting her affairs in order. It’s helping people in need that reminds us why we are sacrificing time away from our families to get this mess sorted out. The Government has taken some really positive steps forward to prevent future leasehold abuses and we need to see action for the thousands of us that are still trapped in this leasehold nightmare.”
Cath Williams of the NLC said:
“The human face of leasehold is often ignored as freeholders are only interested in profit not people. To counteract this the NLC are producing a punchy thought provoking video which will be available for release shortly. This situation is having a massive impact on people overall health and well-being. At the end of the day we are hard working people who just want to have the opportunity to own our own homes, free from any dictatorship”
For more information contact Katie Kendrick @ National Leasehold Campaign – firstname.lastname@example.org, 07539 083958, Jo Darbyshire, email@example.com, 07973 694985 or Cath Williams firstname.lastname@example.org 07790771319.
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National Leasehold Campaign (NLC)
Founded by Katie Kendrick in January 2017, the NLC is a community of leaseholders campaigning for the abolition of leasehold. Currently 10,000 members strong, the NLC offers support, advice and guidance for 4.2 million leaseholders in England and Wales. They work closely with the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership Charity.
Sajid Javid launched a government consultation on tackling unfair practices in the leasehold market which ended in September. It received over 6,000 responses. On 21st December 2017, in a debate on leasehold reform in Westminster Hall, the then Housing Minister, Alok Sharma, confirmed that leasehold reform would be included in the Law Commission’s 13th term of work and they would report back the Government in the summer of 2018. He also confirmed that sale of new leasehold houses would be banned.
Leasehold tenure is a remnant from the English Feudal system and retains ownership of land for the landowner with ‘tenants’ paying ground rent. Abuses are common: exorbitant management fees, onerous lease extensions and permission fees (Eg to change a bedroom carpet, changing mortgage provider).
50% of homes in London are leasehold and 9 out of 10 newly built homes in London are leasehold. Leasehold reform has been attempted several times over the last 50 years resulting in the development of a complex legal matrix which is unintelligible to the lay person, and often, conveyancing solicitors themselves.