Autumn Update

autumn leaves

Thank you to our supporter who wrote and asked us what we are up to! A timely reminder for an update.

We continue to take every chance we can to raise the profile of the issues which affect us with our politicians, but it hasn’t been easy over the summer parliamentary recess and then the Brexit prorogation. Like much of the domestic agenda, our problems are not getting enough attention. The second reading of Helen Goodman’s bill on Freehold Estate Charges has been postponed, possibly indefinitely, along with Justin Madders bill on leasehold. The new Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, is known to have supported fleeceholders in his constituency previously, but we haven’t heard a peep. We do also wonder how long the current set up will last in any event, and we get yet another different minister.

It is not all bad news, and we have been active in drawing attention to our plight at the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

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Council Joins Fleecehold Exploits

South Somerset District Council has recently launched its own private company, Elleston, to provide maintenance services on privately owned estates. They justify this on the grounds of better quality and value for money together with an income for the council in terms of a projected £2.2M over two years. Talk about adding insult to injury for home owners! Councils aid the creation of privately owned estates during planning – they definitely could do more to discourage developers from implementing it, and they refuse to countenance compensating the estate dwellers for their total funding of the maintenance of designated public open space. No wonder residents are hopping mad!

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Fun Video!

But with a serious message about the fundamental unfairness of estate charges on new housing estates. These areas should be adopted by the council, but developers will not volunteer for this when it saves them so much money in construction costs and provides a nice little earner for their friends in property management.

We love that the film makers are also highlighting the arbitrary nature of who pays and who doesn’t AND the fact that estate charges affect leasehold as well as “freehold” properties. Thanks to Chris and Paul for sharing. Enjoy!!!


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The Cat is Out of the Bag!

cat with megaphone in sack
Nasty effects of rent charge discovered by mortgage lenders.

Many of us who are unwittingly trapped in the private estate model have observed what amounts to a conspiracy of silence over the true risks of the rent charge. It involves the developers, councils and property industry as a whole, but also those very many homebuyers who hope that by keeping quiet, the problem will just disappear! HorNet have taken some flak for daring to talk about it, but at the end of the day it is the mortgage lenders concerned to protect their investment who are exposing the secret.

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Roller Coaster Week!

This last week or so has been a bumpy ride for HorNets, but things are looking hopeful again, thanks to Helen Goodman MP, who never misses an opportunity to push for change. In addition the fact that newly appointed Secretary of State responsible for housing, Robert Jenrick, has previously spoken on behalf of his constituents trapped in fleecehold indicating he is sympathetic and has a good understanding of the issues. This makes us more hopeful that there will be some action to help us.

Helen lost no time in writing to the new Minister and also had recently asked his predecessor in the house to support our requests for the CMA to include fleecehold mis-selling in its enquiries. Quote: “Hundreds of my constituents have written to me similarly feeling that they have been mis-sold their freehold, so I have written to the Competition and Markets Authority asking it to extend its inquiry to cover freehold, where people have to pay excessive and ever-escalating management and service fees. Will the Secretary of State support me in this?” Read the full debate here and Helen’s letter to Robert Jenrick appears below:

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