To all members new and old, this is to bring you up to speed with our activities.
There are now nearly 1,200 FaceBook group members and many others who have joined our private forum and been in contact by email. Networking has proved a tremendous success and members UK wide shared experiences confirm the common concerns which are:
Pressure of time and misleading information during the purchase process.
Promotion of builder recommended solicitors who are not informing purchasers of the implications of their covenants.
High costs, especially for managing the companies, and poor value for money.
No choice of provider, and no alternative dispute resolution process.
No consumer rights. Small claims courts being used to force payment in dispute.
Both leasehold and freehold properties are affected by establishment of an estate rent charge and associated covenants in the deeds.
The law in Scotland is different, but the issues similar.
Nearly all new build estates over the past 10 years are affected by this – estimated at 1 million homes.
Our conclusion is that the law must to changed – this positively feudal set up is not fit for purpose in the 21st century.
What we are doing:
Members are contacting their MPs and there are indications we will find two or three who will sponsor our campaign to change the law. The election is both a challenge and an opportunity and members are asking at the hustings what parties intend to do for us.
We are in discussions with a legal firm to develop a model for challenging the monopoly aspect of this exploitative set up. Also we are exploring the case for group actions against solicitors and vendors for negligence and misrepresentation. In Scotland there may be a further challenge at the Lands Tribunal – see this post.
We have submitted a written briefing paper to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Leasehold and Common Hold Reform and hope to make more representations for a change in the law to protect us when it reconvenes after the election.
We continue to raise the profile of our issues at every opportunity we can, and are building a collection of useful press contacts. At the moment our problems are overshadowed by the leasehold scandal which has had considerable press coverage, but we plan to build on that by pointing out the many similarities in the two situations e.g. the same players are exploiting new home owners, not being truthful about the implications of buying their houses, using feudal land law to their advantage, retention of assets to make more money and generally behaving in an unethical and immoral fashion.