Chris Webb hails ‘justice for leaseholders’ with new plans to cap excessive property fees and save home-owners thousands of pounds
Chris Webb, today backed new plans to bring justice to constituents affected by the leasehold scandal.
A Labour report released today includes proposals to cap unfair costs such as ground rents, investigate misselling and save local leaseholders thousands of pounds.
Leasehold ownership, most commonly found in flats, means purchasing a home for the duration of a long lease rather than owning it outright. Homeowners who purchase a leasehold property are often faced with extortionate charges in the form of ‘ground rents’ or service charges and locked into restrictive contracts which were not properly explained.
New figures today show nearly 20% of homes in Blackpool North and Cleveleys were estimated to have been sold as leasehold last year. Reforms to leasehold promised by the Conservative Government have still not been implemented, two years after they were first proposed.
Chris Webb today highlighted the Government’s failure to ban the sale of leasehold houses, despite promising to do so following the ground rents scandal which left 100,000 homeowners in a property they can’t sell. Today’s figures show an estimated 7.39%of houses sold in Blackpool North and Cleveleys last year were sold as leasehold.
The plans, set out in a consultation today by Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, John Healey MP and Shadow Housing Minister, Sarah Jones MP, include a ban on the sale of new leasehold houses and flats. Leaseholders will be able to buy the full, freehold ownership of their home for 1% of the property value, with ground rents in existing leaseholds capped at 0.1% of the property value, up to a maximum of £250 a year.
Labour’s proposals mean the average household in Blackpool North and Cleveleys would see their annual ground rent capped at £1,220 with the cost of buying their freehold reduced to just £122 - according to analysis published by Chris Webb today.
Other proposals set out by Labour today include:
· A crack down on unfair fees and contract terms, and a right to challenge unfair fees or poor service.
· New rights to empower leaseholders to hire and fire their managing agent, or to take over management of their homes themselves.
· A promise to revitalise commonhold: an alternative to leasehold – forms of which are used successfully across the world.
The report also renews Labour’s calls for a full public inquiry into mis-selling in the leasehold market which saw thousands of properties sold with extortionate terms such as doubling ground rents, making them unsellable.
Commenting, Chris Webb said:
“As our MP, Paul Maynard should have done more to protect residents who just wanted to own their own home but have instead ended up with exorbitant hidden costs and often trapped in a property they are unable to sell on.
“Being Blackpool born and bred I’ve seen first hand the exploitative measured imposed through leaseholds. These proposals will save leaseholders £3,428 plus expensive legal expenses.“I am proud that Labour is taking a tough stance on the issue and I would always be on the side of residents if elected as your MP”.
Sarah Jones MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister said:
“Leaseholders have everything stacked against them. Too often they suffer extortionate fees, appalling service and restrictive contract terms, and no way to easily challenge them.
“England is one of the only places in the world which has failed to move away from this feudal system. Across the world, modern alternatives like commonhold have flourished.
“Labour will improve and revitalise commonhold for flats, and make freehold mandatory for all new houses, as the Conservatives should have done years ago.”
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