And BBC North reports ‘corporate looting’ over £110m bonus for Persimmon CEO Jeffrey Fairburn
Leasehold houses on Persimmon’s 300-home site at Harrow View West in north London sold for £50,000 more than same-size freehold ones, according to BBC R4 You & Yours yesterday.
The freehold properties were sold after the initial sale of exactly the same leasehold ones, according to reporter Simon Hoban.
The company abandoned the practice of selling leasehold houses in response to mounting criticism last year.
Thirty leasehold owners have formed a protest group headed by Anis Kasmani, who LKP put in touch with the BBC.
The usual slick sales operation – together with the use of Persimmon-recommended solicitors – meant that the disadvantages of buying a leasehold house were not made clear.
At Harrow View West ground rents are £150 a year, rising with RPI every 10 years.
“It is a matter of principle. Persimmon negated what it said when it sold the property. We want the freehold without paying any money.
“We are not a cashpoint and you cannot be treating people unfairly.”
His neighbour Met Namandari told the programme: “I do not think it is fair that my neighbour has the same house and has the freehold.”
Persimmon has yet to flog on the freeholds at the site to ground rent speculators. It has told its former customers who bought leasehold houses that they must wait the statutory two years and pay to buy the freeholds.
By that time it is an open question whether Persimmon will still own them.
Same price or up to £50,000 less when buying freehold.
The item is at 16.40 below:
News and discussion of consumer affairs.
Later yesterday, BBC North TV covered the £110 million bonus scheme for Persimmon boss Jeffrey Fairburn, which critics describe as “corporate looting”. The company is headquartered in York.
Rachael Maskell, Labour MP for York Central, said: “I would like to see Mr Fairburn reinvest that money in housing, particularly to address the housing crisis.
“I think if he is a man with any sort of conscience he would refuse to take that huge bonus and give that money back to investment in our housing crisis at the moment.”
Sebastian O’Kelly, trustee of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, told the programme that Persimmon’s four-fold increase in share price which drives Mr Fairburn’s bonus was subsidised by taxpayers through the Help To Buy scheme.
“The chairman and another director have resigned so they are pretty shame-faced about it.
“It is an outrageous bonus that is mainly paid by taxpayers funding this housing boom and housebuilders’ profits, and I do not think Mr Jeffrey Fairburn will be getting it in the end.”
Cut from the clip was Mr O’Kelly’s suggestion that Mr Fairburn’s bonus be used to put right Persimmon’s ripped-off former customers who bought leasehold houses.
The housebuilder is the prime offender in spreading leasehold houses around the country.
This practice is to be outlawed by the government, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid announced on December 21 – along with a ban on future ground rents.