Thanks to all who have written to the Competition and Markets Authority in response to their working paper – we gave it our best shot.
Below is a link to our email on behalf of the group – you may think the language is quite moderate, but the Competition and Markets Authority have worked hard, listened, investigated and they got it. They have correctly identified that lack of adoption is the underlying problem on publicly accessible estates.
We had thought it would be a matter now of waiting for their recommendations in February, but lo and behold, the government has, after 4 years, suddenly found parliamentary time to introduce its Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill! It feels like a race to get something on the statute book now regardless of whether the act will deliver anything like the changes needed for either leasehold or estate charges to ensure fairness to home/lease buyers. In our view both should be abolished, not polished.
For us, the fundamental mistake (??) government makes is to look to ensure parity between leaseholders and estate charge payers. A dodge which means we will be treated like leaseholders – big deal! Actually it’s a smack in the eye, as it legitimises a model which should be scrapped. We seek parity with other home buyers, not leaseholders who are an even more disadvantaged group than us.
We do not want or need estate charges on developments open to the public. They may be appropriate on gated private estates, but this is not the case for us.
If the government think they can catch any votes with this bill they have another think coming. Like so many government actions, it supports big business, not the voting public.
We are working with the NLC to pull together a way forward and will post again soon on this.