Whilst we are thankful to the Law Commission for carrying out this piece of work leaseholders will not receive the content of the report as favourable.
Leaseholders have put so much time & effort into completing consultation after consultation regarding leasehold reform in the hope much needed radical changes were on the horizon. We needed the law commissions valuation report to give us hope that people will be able to afford to buy a way out of this mess. We still don’t have that.
The aim of making it easier, quicker and more affordable is no clearer than at the start of this consultation 18 months ago. The report is immensely complicated and confusing with 3 main options proposed with 7 sub options for the government to choose from. It could leave an already complicated system even more so depending on which option the government chooses or rather is persuaded to choose. I have no idea how a leaseholder will be able to understand and navigate most elements of this report.
This has been the best chance in decades to bring about meaningful much needed changes to the leasehold system, yet it appears they are doing nothing more than tinkering around the edges and keeping the status quo. It is deeply disappointing.
We can only hope that the government will take the much needed BOLD action to address the imbalance of the leasehold system. It may be correct to consider the human rights of the landlords, but they should have been considered in light of the fact those landlords have been allowed by a deeply flawed leasehold system to abuse the human rights of leaseholders over many decades. Decades in which successive governments have effectively duped the consumer into believing there were no problems with leasehold tenure. Decades in which developers have been allowed to create leases that in some cases are so onerous that people cannot sell their homes. Leases which have allowed the developers and landlords to make billions of pounds out of other people’s homes.
CALLING ALL LEASEHOLDERS TO UNITE TOGETHER. THIS IS A CRUCIAL TIME IN OUR CAMPAIGN. WE NEED YOU.
Hopton Build are a relatively new company established in 2017. They are building five commonhold units in Liversedge, near Leeds. On the face of it they may appear to be an ‘insignificant small builder’, however Hopton Build have big ambitions to transform the sales model in England and Wales.
Stewart Moxon is the Co-director of Hopton Build and it was his own personal frustrations and experiences of the leasehold system that led him to explore a better and fairer means of ownership, Commonhold.
Stewart states he is aiming high to help make a new Gold Standard for the benefit of future generations.
The government has announced its commitment to ‘Expand the Commonhold ownership system’.
“We also want to look at ways to reinvigorate commonhold. This will help ensure that the market puts consumers’ needs ahead of those of developers or investors. We will also look at what more we can and should do to support commonhold to get off the ground working across the sector, including with mortgage lenders.”
Stewart Moxon of Hopton Build did exactly that. He is the ONLY builder to champion Commonhold this year. This is an outstanding achievement and he deserves recognition for embracing Commonhold. Hopton Build could revolutionise the way home ownership works in the UK and all of the other builders nationally should follow his lead. It is a system widely used across the rest of the world and could work in England & Wales if there is a will.
Hopton build are building a commonhold development because they want to give their buyers real ownership and real control of their homes, not just the right to live there which is controlled by someone else. They are committed to ‘selling homes not leases’
Hopton Build’s initiative to reinvigorate Commonhold has enabled buyers to finally achieve their dream of actually owning their own home.
Hopton build are a small builder attempting to change a big system that is extremely lucrative for many developers. Leasehold and its abuses have come under scrutiny in the national press this year. Hopton build believes a change to the system will give smaller builders a better chance to be competitive against the huge organisations who build so many homes. It will employ local trades, train local teenagers and provide incomes to local communities.
During the process Hopton Build have experienced MANY barriers which they overcome by sheer determination & commitment to make Commonhold work. Some of those barriers included mortgage lenders, problems registering a commonhold scheme with the land registry, wariness from solicitors and government stalling. But persistence and an intervention from Sir Peter Bottomley MP, who stood up in Parliament and raised the issues Hopton Build was experiencing with Land Registry which led to full registration being successfully received.
Another barrier Hopton Build had to overcome was Commonhold properties were ineligible to use the governments ‘Help to Buy’ Scheme. With intervention from the charity Leasehold Knowledge Partnership (LKP) who are also secretariat of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Leasehold and Commonhold Reform the government changed their eligibility and Hopton Build were then able to offer the scheme on their Commonhold properties.
Hopton Build is a clear example of Commonhold in action.
Whilst support amongst the sector may be weak that is hardly surprising when their lucrative income stream that leasehold produces is under real threat. Government is considering wider measures to reinvigorate commonhold, such as raising consumer awareness and whether commonhold should be incentivised or compelled.
Prof Nick Hopkins, Law Commissioner states “Commonhold should not be looked at through the lens of leasehold. Commonhold involves a culture change. It moves away from an “us and them” mindset, towards “us and ourselves”
The vision is that Commonhold can flourish and will become best practice for the future. Embracing Commonhold is a culture change the sector needs, moving away from an ‘us and them’ mindset, towards ‘us and ourselves’
Despite Commonhold being introduced in 2002 fewer than 20 Commonholds have been created. Getting many developers to give up the economic value which they currently retain when selling leasehold is not going to be easy.
The Law Commission is supporting Commonhold agreeing it offers a once in a generation opportunity to rethink how property is owned in England and Wales and should be reinvigorated.
Hopton Build is miles ahead of the bigger developers who are fixated on continuing with the sale of more leases. Hopton Build should be the benchmark for ‘Best Practice’ that other developers should be mandated to follow.
Hopton deserve to be recognised as ‘Homebuilder of the year 2020’ Table
“Labour will end the scandal of leasehold for the millions who have bought their home but don’t feel like they own it. We will end the sale of new leasehold properties, abolish unfair fees and conditions, and give leaseholders the right to buy their freehold at a price they can afford. We will introduce equivalent rights for freeholders on privately owned estates”
The Conservative Manifesto is apparently out Monday ….
Therefore the question remains:
WILL THE CONSERVATIVE MANIFESTO COMMIT TO ENDING THE LEASEHOLD SCANDAL?
The fact Leasehold Reform has made it onto Martin Lewis’s list of top consumer issues is brilliant. This is a direct result of our hard work and keeping Leasehold in the spotlight.
We want to know what ALL parties are going to do about the Leasehold Scandal. This is a great opportunity.
Things are chaotic at the moment in politics. This is a cross-party issue and therefore it’s paramount we keep it top of the list when perspective MP’s and councillors come knocking on our doors during the next few weeks wanting our votes.
Ask ALL candidates who you may come into contact with during the general election what they are going to to do to end the Leasehold Scandal? Ask them if they are successful and elected if they would join the APPG on Leasehold & Commonhold Reform
If successful make sure you follow this up and hold them to their commitment to join the APPG.
Many ‘new build’ estates now consist of mixed tenures of Leasehold & Freehold. One clearly being a more attractive purchase than the other. We also have a situation where some developments are adopted by the council upon completion and others are not. Therefore some pay full council tax and an estate maintenance charge, others just pay council tax. Is this fair? Some describe it as “paying council tax twice’.
It really is a postcode lottery as Chris & Paul have illustrated so well in this video below.
This affects both Leasehold estates AND Freehold estates.
The umbrella term ‘FLEECEHOLD’ was created by NLC administrator Joy Dickinson to describe numerous ways Developers, Freeholders and Management Companies use our homes as an endless income stream
People have had enough of these practices. From Leasehold estates to Freehold estates retaining an income from our homes has to stop. We love seeing people uniting together in numerous ways to fight the injustices of the “new build’ housing models.
The NLC have launched an event to email ALL developers and request they return our freeholds ‘FREE OF CHARGE’ and ‘free from fee paying covenants & permission fees’ to their rightful owners.
Katie Kendrick states
” Developers can do the right thing but for far too long they choose not too. We are urging all leaseholders to make the reasonable request to their developers to return our freeholds to their rightful owners ahead of legislative changes. This morally is the ‘right thing to do’. It’s disappointing unless threatened with court action (as in the Cardiff case) they fail to act responsibly.
Leaseholders are rightly riled up about the news of a Persimmon estate in Cardiff being given their freeholds ‘FREE OF CHARGE’. Many reporting experiencing very similar situations to the Cardiff residents who are also members of the NLC
We are encouraging you to email the CEO of the developer you purchased from and ask them to follow the lead of Persimmon Homes Ltd in the Cardiff case
It’s great to see leaseholders uniting together throughout the country to fight back. Enough is enough.
This case is not an isolated case. We are not going to back down on this.
Secretary Of State For Housing Robert Jenrick Robert.firstname.lastname@example.org
Esther Mcvey – Housing Minister – Esther.email@example.com
Your local Council & Councillor
Template letter can be found here below. Please amend to suit your situation.
On behalf of *name of estate* we would like to request you return all leaseholders their full freehold titles. Where our freeholds have been sold on to institutional investor’s without offering them to us first, we urge you to buy them back and return them to us. I’m sure you are aware of the recent Cardiff Council V’s Persimmon Homes Ltd case which settled out of court.
It is widely accepted that our homes should never have been Leasehold in the first place, you unnecessarily created a second asset on our homes by creating a lease. Nearly every resident who requested to buy the freehold at the point of sale were told the freehold could only be bought after 2 years, unaware that your intention was to sell the freehold onto investors before we were able to purchase the freehold. This is not acceptable. This is not an isolated case, almost everyone was told the same thing at the point of sale, this was systematic, and the responsibility is with you. As the CEO/Director you have a duty to your customers to correct the mistake of the recent past and understand this was selling a product to your customers without being totally open, honest and transparent with them.
Residents would not have proceeded with the purchase had you been open and transparent with your intentions. This crucial information was withheld from us at the point of sale which consequently prevented us from making an informed decision.
In relation to the above case Persimmon accepted they “could have communicated better or more clearly”. They went onto state “Ensuring that customer satisfaction, as part of our Persimmon Pledge, sits at the heart of our business and so when things do not go as planned, we want to do our best to put things right. As a gesture of goodwill, we have decided to provide all leasehold owners with their freehold title, without any cost”
We urge you, ahead of government legislative changes to ‘Do the right thing’ This is your opportunity to ‘Put things right’ and return to us our Freeholds (free also of fee payment covenants)
We request that you return to all leaseholders the freehold of their property. This should apply whether it was a first time buyer or subsequent buyer of the property.
We look forward to your response.
Here are a few email addresses for the CEO’s
Bellway – CEO Jason Honeyman Jason.firstname.lastname@example.org
Persimmon – CEO David Jenkinson
Barratt -CEO David Thomas David.email@example.com
Linden Homes – CEO Grahma Prothero firstname.lastname@example.org
Morris –CEO Mike Gaskell email@example.com
Redrow – CEO John Tutte firstname.lastname@example.org
Taylor Wimpey email@example.com
Alternatively if you can’t find your CEO’s email address please SEARCH HERE
The heat🔥 was turned up this weekend as the ‘Mail On Sunday’ Published an excellent article putting pressure on Persimmon to “Cancel ALL leasehold deals” following an out of court settlement offered to a Cardiff estate.
The National Leasehold Campaign passed this story to the ‘Mail On Sunday’ as we believe the Cardiff Council V’s Persimmon Homes Ltd is of National Interest.
The NLC have been aware of this case for some time as we are sure many developers were also watching this case with interest. I’m sure ALL developers gave a sigh of relief that the case was dropped before court.
It really is a shame Cardiff Council didn’t have the funds to pursue this case.
The letter Cardiff residents received from Persimmon stated
“We have also been in discussion with Cardiff County Council who have been passing on those concerns to us, on behalf of a number of residents.
Ensuring that customer satisfaction, as part of our Persimmon Pledge, sits at the heart of our business and so when things do not go as planned, we want to do our best to put things right”
Katie Kendrick (Founder of the NLC) gave the following statement
“The NLC are pleased that Persimmon have eventually done the right thing for these residents. However this is not an isolated case. Many other residents have experienced exactly the same throughout the country. We urge Persimmon to honour this for all other developments across the country who are currently trapped in the leasehold scandal.
This case is of significant national interest as thousands feel they have been miss sold their leasehold properties.
It is disappointing that this case is not being taken to court for a full hearing. It remains questionable if persimmon have offered the residents their freehold free of charge as ‘damage limitation’ as succeeding and winning this case against persimmon would have set a legal precedence for many other estates to follow. This case proves they can put things right if they want to, but developers choose not to.
The NLC urge all other developers to also ‘put things right’ and return our freeholds to us free of charge.
We hope the CMA consider this case in their investigation into potential miss selling and unfair contract terms”
This is a ‘DAVID V’S GOLIATH’ battle.
This news has certainly awaken leaseholders on a national level. Leaseholder are rightly riled up and angry. Many asking “what does this mean for us?”
There is a glimmer of hope as this illustrates developers can do the right thing when pushed to do so by the right authorities.
Leaseholders do not have the endless millions of pounds that developers & freeholders have to fight this. We don’t have the clever lawyers, accountants and expensive PR companies advising us; But what we do have is the truth. We have each other and through the movement of the NLC and support of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership (LKP) we are proud to see leaseholders fighting back.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
It’s time to take action. Leaseholder’s must work together.
Work together with your neighbours. Please ensure your neighbours are aware. Encourage them to join with you and carry out the steps below. The more people that keep the pressure on the better.
Contact your local press. Especially if you are living in a Persimmon property. Now is a perfect time to “Strike while the irons hot”. We are happy to be CC’d into any press correspondence if they want a comment from us.(firstname.lastname@example.org)
Contact your local Council. Share the ‘Cardiff Council’s’ actions with them and ask them to do the same on your behalf.
Write to your developers CEO. Request they assign the freehold title to their rightful owner.
Contact both National Trading Standards & your Local Trading Standards Anyone who was not advised of all matters that would have materially affected their decision to view or purchase the property are encouraged to register a complaint.
Please ensure your complaints are logged via the Consumer Service Helpline.
The reason being that logging them this way means that they go onto the National Trading Standards database which is searchable by all Local Trading Standards.
If consumers simply complain to their local trading standards it doesn’t always get on the database but by doing it through the Consumer Service Helpline it goes on the national database and is then sent to the appropriate Local Trading Standards (LTS)
The benefit of it going on the National database is that LTS can then see if there are pockets of complaints in their region and are therefore more likely to prioritise an investigation. Currently if they can only see one complaint they will prioritise other complaints.
Please contact them via email and keep a copy of their responses by clicking the following link:
Any excess funds raised will be transferred to the NLC Bank Account so we can continue to fund the campaign to end the Leasehold Scandal.
A massive thank you to everyone who has donated so far. We couldn’t have done it without you. Knowing that you are all supporting us in numerous ways gives us the strength to continue this David V’s Goliath Battle.