Campaigners have expressed confidence that both the Conservative and Labour parties will include leasehold reform in their election manifestos.
It comes as Tory MP Peter Bottomley yesterday launched an early day motion in Parliament that condemned developers and sellers of houses with onerous ground rents. Early day motions (EDMs) are normally tabled to raise concerns.
Sebastian O’Kelly, of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, said the EDM had been released following a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on leasehold reform last week.
The EDM states: “That this House condemns the developers and sellers of houses unnecessarily marketed to first-time buyers and others, especially if the ground rent provisions were onerous, and where the freeholds were sold on above the heads of leaseholders to investors who later demanded unfair, unreasonable or unjustified prices for sale of the freehold to the leaseholder, or charged fees above costs for adaptations to the home.”
It goes on to demand that “Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon, Bellway, the Adriatic companies and others restore all affected leaseholders to a position of fair, affordable enjoyment of their home by assistance to own that freehold and by cancelling unaffordable ground rent terms”.
So far just Bottomley has signed the motion.
O’Kelly told EYE it was an “absolute certainty” that leasehold reform will be addressed by the next Parliament, particularly the onerous ground rents impacting on resale values.
He said: “We are pretty confident that leasehold will be referenced in both Labour and Conservative manifestos.
“Developers have been selling leasehold houses for no good reason at all in most cases. They have dumped them on the north-west in particular because the region is accustomed to leasehold houses from the factories era.
“Some developers have spread this wealth-eroding tenure to Essex, Wiltshire and Somerset, which have no tradition of leasehold houses at all.
“Developers have then compounded the grief by adding high ground rents, some of them doubling every ten years.
“Consumers buy the properties with developer-recommended solicitors and are not warned of the onerous lease terms.”