We work closely with the National Leasehold Campaign, who have successfully brought attention to the gross exploitation of home owners with doubling ground rent leases. As a result of their pressure the government have pledged to stop this practice, but have not addressed any of the wider issues like how to compensate existing home owners who find their home unsaleable or the scandal of private estates where charges are totally unregulated.
Leaseholders who thought they would be better off buying their freehold now find that they will still have a problem, both through restrictive permission clauses with unjustifiably high fees and estate charges which are unregulated. Jokingly referred to as fleecehold, this has become a catch phrase for the whole money making scam.
We cannot accept a “sticking plaster” approach to this whole problem of home owner exploitation – a wholesale reform of feudal property law is needed to protect everyone who aspires to own and live in their own home.
Private estates are not gated communities, but an arrangement between developers and councils where the estate land is not put up for adoption, but retained as an asset by the developers who then do not have to pay a large commuted sum for adoption and can either keep or sell on the land. It is a new asset class with an income stream at the expense of the home owners. To protect the asset, limitations are placed on the home owners as well as the obligation to pay for maintenance.
It is land banking and privatisation of pubic open space without any democratic scrutiny. It has to stop, at least until there has been a parliamentary debate.