The Government has today launched a consultation designed to ban new homes being sold as leaseholds.
It says the problem is particularly pronounced in the north west, and that the number of leasehold sales in England is growing “rapidly”.
Communities secretary Sajid Javid said: “It’s clear that far too many new houses are being built and sold as leaseholds, exploiting home owners with unfair agreements and spiralling ground rents.
“Enough is enough.
“These practices are unjust, unnecessary and need to stop.”
The consultation is to last eight weeks. It proposes setting ground rents to zero levels and closing legal loopholes.
It says that leaseholds can make homes unsaleable, citing a family home where the ground rent would hit £10,000 a year by 2060, and another where a home owner would be charged £1,500 to make a small alteration to their home. In a third case, the home owner buying a lease worth £2,000 would be charged a total of £40,000.
The proposed prohibition of future homes being sold as leasehold will apply to all houses apart from those built where, for example, homes have shared services or are built on land with specific restrictions.
The proposals would apply in England only. Government statistics estimate that there were 4m residential leasehold dwellings in England in the private sector in 2014/2015.