The Leasehold Knowledge Partnership announces changes today that will secure the organisation and prepare it for an enhanced role in the reform of leasehold.
Sebastian O’Kelly has stood down as an LKP trustee and becomes the chief executive, tasked with taking on intern staff and freelancers assisted by the Open Data Institute, where we are based.
The objective is to provide comprehensive editorial coverage of this sector, and data analytics, that will drive policy change.
The website needs to be expanded to make it the port of call for leaseholders involved in serious disputes with their landlords, to address injustices and to argue for changes to the law.
Martin Boyd, chairman of the trustees, continues to direct strategy with government and its various bodies, as well as chairing the All Party Parliamentary Group meetings in Westminster.
He is joined by five new trustees:
Joanne Darbyshire is a businesswoman in the North West and a joint founder of the National Leasehold Campaign, along with Katie Kendrick and Cath Williams.
This group, approaching 12,000 members, is the best organised and most active leaseholder organisation to have emerged for years.
It has mobilised those who have ended up with doubling ground rents, or onerous ground rents, which now make their homes unsellable. Overwhelmingly, they bought from plc housebuilders, used the recommended solicitors, and were assisted by the government Help To Buy scheme.
The freeholds with their lucrative revenue streams were then sold off to murky private equity speculators, who often hide their beneficial ownership through offshore entities.
The result is a scandal that dwarfs that of PPI and has left 100,000 people with unsellable homes (LKP, Nationwide).
LKP is proud to have someone of Joanne’s calibre on our board.
Bob Bessell is founder of retirement house builder Retirement Security Limited.
Bob is a former head of Warwickshire social services who became a successful house builder, involved in building more than 1,500 retirement flats.
Bob is a long standing critic of the retirement housing sector and of leasehold generally.
Most unusually – for a house builder – he disapproves of the “feudal nonsense” of ground rents.
In addition, he is also working towards ensuring that the freeholds in the RSL portfolio will be used for the benefit of the leaseholders via a trust arrangement.
Aged 84, Bob lives in a flat at Margaret Court, a site that he built in Stratford Upon Avon that is named after his wife.
Dr Dean Buckner is a former Bank of England economist, who is passionately concerned about ethical standards in financial institutions, particularly where they impact on the lives of ordinary citizens.
He is deeply concerned that equity release valuations, which may be endorsed by the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority, adopt the flawed, landlord-friendly valuations prevalent in the leasehold world for extensions and enfranchisement.
Dean worked at the worked at the Financial Standards Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority and the Bank of England for nearly 20 years, specialising in derivative and asset valuation and capital modelling in both the banking and life insurance sector.
He is now retired from the Bank. He and Professor Kevin Dowd, of Durham University, have a website addressing the financial health of bank and insurance companies and campaigning for regulatory reform: http://eumaeus.org/wordp/
Also joining the board is Professor James Driscoll, a solicitor, an academic, an author and a mediator. For eleven years he sat a judge on the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).
James worked as a consultant solicitor with Trowers Hamlins for 20 years, where he advised on all aspects of residential landlord and tenant law including enfranchisement and new lease claims and leasehold management.
In addition to his judicial work and legal practice James has held a number of academic positions in England and in the USA. He is an Emeritus Professor of Property Law at London South Bank University.
He is a very well-known speaker at conferences and seminars for solicitors, surveyors, managing agents and leaseholders.
James is also a prolific author of books and articles on residential landlord and tenant and housing law. His many books include guides to leasehold law, new legislation and commonhold. He also writes for the Estates Gazette and other periodicals.
James is a critic of residential leasehold law which he argues often works against the interests of leaseholders and tenants. James is a proponent of Commonhold – a system which provides freehold ownership with a democratic system of management.
Louie Burns is the chief executive of Leasehold Solutions and a pugnacious defender of leaseholders.
Professionally, he carries out leasehold extensions and enfranchisement on behalf of often large groups of leasehold.
Unique among professionals in the leasehold sector, Louie is a fulsome critic of its practices, its revenue streams, its deliberate obfuscations and its fundamentally exploitative foundation.
He argues passionately for it to be ended, as well as pressing for reforms.
He has given considerable assistance with very little likelihood of any financial reward to thousands of leasehold house owners, and has held advisory road shows across the country.