A short item on national news which highlighted the problems of estate charges and “fake freehold”. We briefed the reporter on the issues home buyers/residents face and hope that these will be followed up in greater depth in future articles.
We are delighted to hear Money Box has broadcast an article based on the experiences of a pensioner who bought “freehold” to avoid leasehold on a new build development. Later she started to learn of the pitfalls, and is horrified to be sitting on a bomb!!
We have contacted the program offering to provide them with more information/evidence from our substantial membership. They have responded positively and have promised to talk to us before any future items are broadcast.
You can listen to the program broadcast first on October 5th 2019, on BBC Sounds at https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m00092tk . The section starts just before 16 minutes in. Some excellent advice on what to ask during purchase by Beth Rudolph of the Conveyancing Association.
She advises potential purchasers to ask for “material facts disclosure” on the property along with estate maintenance budgets for the next 3 years plus management plans for the next 5 years. Our collective experience is that if people did ask these questions, the sale of new build homes on privately managed estates would dry up almost completely.
This Sunday Times Article from 24th February 2019 exposes just how expensive the private managed estate model is, no matter who collects the “tax”. A large “new town” development in Devon with a high proportion of affordable housing caused such concern for the local town council about non-payment (or non affordability?) of the estate fees that it took over the rent charge and manages it via a very large precept on the council tax – around £370 per year!
Although this scenario is unusual in our experience as most new build developments have either a private company or a housing association managing them, we do feel it highlights the need for developments to be constructed to adoption standards and adopted by the council in the very beginning. This avoids sub standard construction which is expensive to keep up, gives the council an advance from the developers for the first 10-20 years maintenance and gets rid of a huge volume of unnecessary legal expenses and delays due to the involvement of a management company with every single home when it is bought, sold or remortgaged.
Entitled “The Potholes and Pitfalls of Life on an Unadopted Road” this article is about the modern managed private estates with some case studies of the difficulties home owners face. Home Owners Rights is promoted and the petition we support to make adoption of estates compulsory.
Please support all estate home owners by signing this government petition. We only need a few hundred more signatures for the government to respond….