We are thrilled to hear that the government watch dog, the Competition and Markets Authority, are taking action against a sample of the national volume housebuilders over mis-selling leasehold houses. This action vindicates the work of the National Leasehold Campaign and the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership in lobbying for change and highlighting the issues for home buyers of new build leasehold houses.
You can read what the CMA have to say about their investigation here and it is clear that they are still focussing on leasehold selling practices.
This is however good news for HorNets, as they have undertaken to look at fleecehold pending the outcome of the leasehold enquiry.
What are HorNets doing about it?
We submitted evidence to the parliamentary select committee on leasehold reform in 2017, which surprisingly was accepted, but disappointingly not included in their issues for the CMA to investigate.
We have written to the CMA on a number of occasions about fleecehold pointing out not only the mis-selling, but the anti-competitive nature of the management arrangements on many developments. We believe that they know there are issues and we are optimistic that they will pick up on them – our only concern is timescales, as estate residents are being exploited right now, with further unfairness in some cases during the pandemic.
We intend to write again and ask about timescales and consider what other avenues may be open to us now that action is being taken against some of the big names.
We are very sorry to report that Louis Burns, an outspoken and dogged supporter of leaseholders, died unexpectedly at his home last weekend.
He had worked exclusively for leaseholders in the legal field and also put forward in no uncertain terms the case for abolishing this form of tenure which enriches the wealthy and exploits those with more modest means. He set up ALEP to help leaseholders find suitably expert lawyers and worked on fairer formulae for calculating the cost of freehold purchase. He also wrote a very amusing and helpful guide for leaseholders – with a short section on fake freehold near the end. You can buy this on Kindle here.
He was a trustee of Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, and a good friend to our allies at the National Leasehold Campaign who grieve for him at a personal level.
We offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends.
Over the last three years of our campaign, there have been plenty of references to problems with the private estate model in parliamentary debates. We are sharing a few quotes taken from Hansard in this article. It is abundantly clear that MPs of all parties have heard from their constituents, and have pressed the government to act. Sadly there has only been consultations and promises of measures based on the already broken leasehold system. Regulation of property agents and redress through the first tier Lands Tribunal are measures which we do not feel tackle the poor quality of new build estates, or the fundamental unfairness of estate residents subsidising leisure facilities for the whole community. We also do not believe they will achieve the government’s stated aim of ensuring fairness and value for money.
It is clear to us that this government is more interested in supporting the construction industry than in ensuring quality developments and a fair deal for home buyers.
Read more QUOTES
Sarah Jones Westminster Hall 22/01/19
As we have heard, home owners on private estates across the country are being fleeced through a system of spiralling fees, shoddy service, lack of choice and zero accountability. We know it is an issue that affects up to 1.3 million households and it is a problem that mirrors the exorbitant service charges and draconian standards facing leaseholders. It is a problem that the Government have had years to fix, but they have yet to do so.