As for £32,000 for painting flats corridors, they could have been painted in “gold” …
Commons debate, July 11 2019
Investors in the freeholds of ordinary families’ homes knew the political risks of these speculations, Labour’s shadow City minister Jonathan Reynolds told the Commons.
The implication of this is … they can take the consequences as well.
Jonathan Reynolds, Labour MP for Stalybridge and Hyde in Machester, has strong views about the leasehold system which he called “legalised extortion” in the debate in December 2017.
“First, institutional investors—particularly those based in this country—have some of the best research and analytical functions of any businesses going.
“They assess all kinds of risk, including political risk, and I cannot understand how anyone would invest substantially in this area without knowing the political risk that has been raised frequently about the will of Parliament and our desire to see change in this area.
“Secondly, there are many precedents of this House legislating to limit unfair contract terms and conditions because the power balance and the relationship between both parties is not right. I simply cannot emphasise enough how much that applies in this case.
“This is symptomatic of how our housing market does not work anywhere near how it should. I do not think that our land allocation system works. I do not think that the design of new homes works particularly well. I do not think that the power of developers is right in our system.
“I do not think that the affordability of homes is anywhere near correct, and I do not think that this leasehold system is fit for purpose at all.”
Mr Reynolds said that the Commons library data showed that 16 of the top 20 constituencies for leasehold house sales were in the North West, with 14 in Greater Manchester.
“I know how bad this is in my constituency, and my constituency is not even on that list—what must that mean for those other places? The argument that there is some sort of price differential between freehold and leasehold, when the market is so concentrated in certain parts of the country, has nothing going for it whatsoever.”
Mr Reynolds also raised a service charge bill of £32,000 to repaint flat corridors in Hattersley: “frankly, they could be painted with gold”.
Another constituent was charged £180 “just to ask what it would cost to buy the freehold”.