Britain’s feudal leasehold system is killing the dream of homeownership
A landlord’s profit motive, however, will always clash with the occupier’s need to protect their investment. High service charges do not affect the landlord. They can “sweat” the asset, let the building become rundown, while padding service charges.
Harry Scoffin, London leaseholder activist who works for the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, questions the Conservative Party’s astonishing complacency in the face of a massively expanded leasehold sector:
He writes in The Daily Telegraph:
“The Conservative Party has been adept at using housing policy to speak to voters’ aspirations for a better life, prompting a “virtuous cycle” which has led it to semi-permanent governance. From Harold Macmillan’s 300,000 new homes a year, to Margaret Thatcher’s right to buy, the world’s most successful political party has understood that owning a home makes families strong and people prouder. Property is earned. It gives people something to work towards and provides a sense of security when achieved.
“But what if the Conservatives abandon their belief in the property-owning democracy? That’s what’s happening with the spread of detested leasehold tenure. Between July 2017 and 2018, new-build leasehold sales represented 44 per cent of all new-build by value and 38 per cent by number of properties …
Mr Scoffin reports the following comment from LKP:
“It’s astonishing that the party of property-owning democracy has been blind to the systemic rip-offs in the massively expanded leasehold system. Do we want homes? Or do we want to create an investment asset class for murky international private equity investors hoovering up the freeholds to people’s homes? Enough, already,” says Sebastian O’Kelly, chief executive of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership