Back the Bill

Justin Madders MP has secured time on Tuesday 7th November to bring before parliament a bill to reform leasehold. He is also fully aware of fleecehold, so we urge all HorNets to email their MPs, asking them to support him in the debate.

If you don’t know your MPs contact details, you can use this form:

Contact Your MP
Enter your Postcode below:



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We Say to MPs

Jim Fitzpatrick Co-Chair
Jim Fitzpatrick, Co-Chair

HorNet has submitted a briefing paper to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Leasehold and Common Hold Reform. It has brought together our collective experience of the effects of the private estate model and suggested some reforms based on our discussions. It also point out the long term effects of this form of private ownership of public open spaces. We encourage members to send it to their MPs along with their own personal story. It would also be great if members could comment on any aspect of this document here – we need everyone’s views and experience.

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Calling All Brummies!

We are looking for home owners on private estates in Birmingham to work with one of our members to hold Birmingham City Council to account for their part in landing them in this invidious position.

If you want to join with this effort, please email via our contact form and we can put you in touch.

This is a copy of an email our member, M F, sent to all of the councillors at Birmingham City Council and his MP:
Continue reading “Calling All Brummies!”

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Another Survey

The government are conducting another survey – this time about the regulation of property agents. It is open for input by freehold home owners as well as leaseholders, so please fill it in – if parts do noy apply to you that is OK. HorNet will be completing a response on behalf of members nearer the closing date on 18th November. If there is anything you want us to add in our response please comment here, in our FaceBook group or the private forum.

Suggestions so far include:

For more competition and choice, compulsory Residents Management Companies controlled by residents. Land ownership transferred to residents in common if not offered to council for adoption. A quality control enforcement process to avoid sub standard estates being transferred for maintenance – local councils to be funded and empowered to do this? Ban the embedding of a company in the legal documents. This should leave residents free to choose their managing agent and drive up standards through market forces.  Implement something like the Property Factors register in Scotland, and enforce standards. You shouldn’t really need an arbitration service if the residents are commissioning their own services, it would be a normal commercial contract. However, if there is a dispute resolution service, it should be free or very low cost, and unbiased.

Just something to think about before you fill it in. You can do this here – survey.

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In Parliament

It’s working! In the recent debate about regulation of property agents, 3 MPs brought up the issue of private estates. They are Lucy Allan (Con, Telford), Robert Jenrick (Con, Newark) and Steve Double (Con, St Austell and Newquay ). If you are interested you can read the transcript here.

A huge thank you to all HorNets who are lobbying their MPs – keep iy up – you might not get an immediate positive response but the message is getting through. Clearly there ARE still MPs who take representing their constituents issues seriously!

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Locked In

protestors behind barsHome owners from HorNet and the National Leasehold Campaign have been demonstrating outside an industry sponsored event intended to lure first time buyers into toxic covenants/lease clauses.  Should these uninformed new buyers purchase a new build home through Help to Buy on a private estate, they too will be locked in to escalating charges and unable to sell.

Looks like they had a great time!  HorNet and NLC have started from different points but find that all roads (probably unadopted) lead not to Rome but to sub-standard private estates which generate an income stream for developers and property management companies. We stand united in our opposition to this and call for urgent property and consumer law reform.

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More on Fleecehold

On Thursday 28th Sept 2017, Radio 4 You and Yours aired this excellent item on fleecehold with case studies from the National Leasehold Campaign group

Although the estate management charges are not mentioned this time, it is becoming increasingly clear that our groups might have started off in different places focusing on one aspect, but we are ending up at the same place. The private estate has been sneaked under the radar, and has become a new asset class. How many people believe that all the restrictions are to protect residents from each other? Why would you need this degree of control? Surely it is more about protecting and preserving the asset – the private estate?

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Councils’ Role

BBC radio 4’s “You and Yours” have done another item on estate management fees triggered by a listeners issue over an estate which was going to be adopted, but in the end wasn’t, leaving only a minority of the home owners footing the bill as their homes were built later. They were told the council had refused to adopt, although the reasons for this have not been revealed. In this fairly brief item HorNets’ views were asked about this and the Local Government Association statement (they declined to be interviewed). You can listen to the clip below – apologies for a minor break in the recording.

There wasn’t enough time to paint the full picture, especially in view of the need to explain the context for the wider public. So if you would like to comment with your own experiences of your council’s role, especially over the negotiating and subsequent monitoring of landscaping in 106 agreements, please do. To support our campaign further you could also send a copy to “You and Yours” at youandyours@bbc.co.uk

Thank you HorNets

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