Patrick Collinson, the personal finance editor of the Guardian, was the first national newspaper journalist to write about the leasehold houses scandals in October last year.
He did so after writing about the egregious Martin Paine, a leasehold gameplayer – called a “crook” in the Commons – who lands families with £8,000 a year group rents.
Patrick then took up the issue of leasehold houses, for which LKP had been struggling to get traction for years.
At last, a leasehold scandal really took off and hit mainstream media, with newspapers and TV wading in.
On Tuesday, the government said that it was ending leasehold houses and reducing new ground rents to “as low as zero”.
That detonated the leasehold coverage seen this week.
Here is a selection of Patrick’ articles on leasehold. Please add others in the comments that should be included
The entire parasitic structure of leasehold in England and Wales is, finally, beginning to wobble – and with a bit more prodding we could see it crash. The long campaign led by Sebastian O’Kelly at the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership has had its first success, with the government proposing a ban on new leasehold houses, while new flats will see ground rents cut to zero.
He does not appear on any rich list but he has built a property empire that rivals that of the Duke of Westminster. Companies controlled by James Tuttiett, aged 53, have quietly snapped up the freeholds of tens of thousands of houses and flats in almost every city in Britain, which are now at the centre of controversy over spiralling ground rents.
Aristocratic landowners with connections to the family of former prime minister David Cameron, mysterious Dublin-based shell companies that pay no tax, and groups based in the Channel Islands are among the freehold owners that appear to have made millions from spiralling ground rents.
The leasehold exploitation that the Guardian has been campaigning against for several years is to be stopped within weeks. This is welcome news indeed for the future, though not for the hundreds of people who bought new flats and houses, mainly in the north-west of England, without knowing the risk of exploitation from buying only a leasehold rather than a more expensive freehold.
Victims of the ground rents scandal are demanding ministers go further in tackling unfair abuses of the leasehold system, amid claims that as many as 100,000 existing homeowners remain trapped in properties that are “unsellable”.
The British empire spread leasehold to every corner of the globe – but now England and Wales remain the last redoubt of a system regarded as a feudal relic everywhere else. In Ireland, much-hated ground rents extracted by the Anglo-Irish aristocracy, and dating back to the Cromwellian era, were partly behind the rise of the Land League in the late 19th century, and the country’s fight for independence.
Britain has had leasehold homes for hundreds of years, but only in the past few months has the ground rent scandal exploded. Now the government is proposing a complete ban on new houses sold as leasehold, and reducing ground rents to zero. Traditionally, houses have been sold as freehold, and the buyer has complete control over their property.
Following a special report in last week’s Guardian Money, there has been a huge response from readers caught out by leases with sky-rocketing ground rents. Can a newly built apartment from Taylor Wimpey effectively be worth nothing after just six years?
When Clare Budgen bought her first house in Ellesmere Port in 2009 for £155,000 the last thing on her mind was the lease. Taylor Wimpey, the developer, arranged the lease on a 999-year basis, so what could the then 22-year-old possibly have had to worry about?
It beggars belief that there can be clauses in a property contract which allow a freeholder to backdate the ground rent and then present an extortionate bill to the unsuspecting buyer of a flat.
You’ve just bought your first flat, and were told by your solicitor that the ground rent is £250 a year. So, on moving in, you are staggered to be presented with a bill for £8,000 a year. But that’s not the end of the nightmare.
It was party time for a group of elderly leaseholders in Berkshire last month. After years of paying high charges imposed by one of the UK’s most controversial property management firms, the residents have finally gained the right to manage (RTM) their own homes.