The report of the governments select committee enquiry into Leasehold Reform is now published. It is clear that this group of cross party MPs has not had the wool pulled over its eyes by developers, investors and property managers. It has come out very strongly in favour of actions which would help to correct the power imbalance towards ordinary home buyers in the leasehold sector. These include making it easier to buy the freehold, scrapping ground rents, regulating service charges, making common hold the default tenure for any properties with shared space/buildings.
Although the enquiry title refers to leasehold, its remit did include estate charges, and our own written evidence was accepted by them.
On estate charges, they are recommending full leasehold style rights for home owners and also the possibility of common hold for estates in future.
We welcome their acknowledgement that there is a problem over estate charges, but feel these measures do not go far enough, especially in relation to the construction of sub standard estates when there is no intention for them to be adopted.
The report recommends an investigation into mis-selling leasehold houses with involvement of the Competition and Markets Authority. We think this equally applies to estate charges and we intend to develop and announce shortly a strategy for reporting to the CMA.
You can read the report here