This morning saw the formation of the new All Party Parliamentary Group on leasehold and commonhold under the joint chairmanship of LKP patron MPs Sir Peter Bottomley and Jim Fitzpatrick.
LKP is to provide the secretariat for the APPG.
This means that for the first time a rigorous consumer organisation is in a position to support the agenda of a parliamentary group examining leasehold and its many income streams without it being nobbled by the involvement or funding of housebuilders, parti pris trade bodies and supposedly neutral “think tanks”, which can be little more than PR / marketing operations.
The housing minister Gavin Barwell was informed of the formation of the APPG on Tuesday, at a meeting with LKP. In total 35 MPs and a number of Lords have signed up to the APPG.
The aims of the APPG were outlined this morning as:
- 1/ To reduce the opportunities for exploitation;
- 2/ To alleviate the distress and hardship of leaseholders, particularly the elderly;
- 3/ To do away with the high costs and legal gamesmanship that have distorted the original intention of the property tribunal as a low cost forum for redress.
- 4/ It will examine the incidence of lease forfeiture, and consider the case for its reform, as recommended by the Law Commission in 2006.
- 5/ It will examine why the values of retirement leasehold properties can have no relationship at all to the local property markets.
- 6/ It will unearth and publicise scandalous behaviour of professions involved in the leasehold sector.
- 7/ It will examine those matters where leaseholder pay for a service but are not deemed party to a contract and therefore have limited rights. On issues such as insurance the matter of commissions and the leaseholders rights under the terms of a policy will be reviewed
- 8/ To ensure that right to manage legislation acts as intended, although currently frustrated by freeholders’ legal actions in the property tribunal and, lately, the Court of Appeal.