From January 2018 we have a new housing minister, Dominic Raab. If you wish to write to him or copy him in to letters to your MP, his email is Dominic.Raab@communities.gsi.gov.uk .
These frequent changes of minister will not help campaigns for land and property reform, there must be a huge learning curve for each new incumbent. A good excuse for government inaction?
Let’s write to him anyway and highlight the problems we are having on private estates with monopoly providers.
On Friday 19th January 2018 we wrote this email on behalf of HorNet:
Dear Mr Raab
Congratulations on your appointment as Housing Minister.
I write on behalf of the Home Owners Rights Network (HorNet) which has over 2500 members with 230 estates reported so far across the UK. We all find ourselves trapped in an unfair situation with the vast majority of members not being given the full picture by their conveyancers (just as with the doubling ground rent scandal) with the result that they only find out after purchase the difficulties they face.
Below is an extract from one of our publications which briefly explains the situation we are in. I attach it as a pdf for ease of reading as well.
“Fleecehold” – Another New-Build Nightmare!
You may have heard about poor build quality and the recent leasehold houses scandal, BUT –
did you know all the major national house building companies are implementing the “estate management charges” scam?
What is it?
Home-owners on new-build estates are required to pay for the maintenance of privately-owned public open space and play parks, as well as other estate amenities.
In the past the estate land not built on was adopted by the council.
For about 10 years now this has not been happening – builders and councils are saving money at the home-owners expense.
There is no regulation of these charges.
Home-owners pay full council tax, even though they are subsidising an area of public open space.
The estates are not being well maintained once the builders have sold all the houses and moved on.
Legal arrangements create obstacles to residents’ management companies and help to maintain a monopoly for management company providers who can and do charge what they like without consequence or right of complaint.
Grossly inflated permission charges for minor alterations (changing flooring is an example) are being imposed, as well as charges for moving and re-mortgaging.
The leasehold houses scam has been exposed by the National Leasehold Campaign. Builders are now capitalising on this and misleadingly promoting “freehold” homes. These fake freeholds have become known as “fleecehold”. In England and Wales “freehold with rent charge” is used to impose estate fees and unreasonable charges for minor alterations via a management company embedded in the deeds. If you have a rent charge your home can be repossessed, so how can it be considered as freehold?
Written and produced by HorNet, the Home-Owners Rights Network
We all accept that more houses need to be built, but feel that the public should have good quality housing and a fair deal, not quantity at any price.
We are aware of the work of the APPG on Leasehold and Common Hold Reform, and have submitted a briefing paper to them. We are also aware that the government has yet to implement the findings of the APPG on Quality in the Built Environment 2016.
We would be grateful for your consideration of the issues we have raised, and hope that you feel able to address them when forming policy.
Signed by a HorNet co-ordinator