HCLG Committee launches survey on dangerous cladding

The quick to complete survey invites residents to tell the Committee what the fire safety issues on their buildings have been, detail the impact this has had on them, whether it be financial or EMOTIONAL, and give their views on the Government’s response.

NOW IS THE TIME TO HAVE YOUR VIEWS HEARD !!

In a snapshot survey in 2019 answered by nearly 200 owners in 21 buildings, 127 people told UK Cladding Action Group (UKCAG) that their mental health had been “hugely affected” by the cladding problems, 160 complained of stress and 50 said they had sought medical help as a direct result of the situation. This was report by The Guardian; Mental health toll on people in flats with Grenfell-style cladding revealed

CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE THE SURVEY

DEADLINE 24TH APRIL 2020

CLADDING ACTION GROUPS HAVE DONE A FANTASTIC JOB OF UNITING TOGETHER LOCALLY & NATIONALLY.

There are numerous cladding action groups on twitter. It’s important as Leaseholders we ALL support eachother. Some of their twitter handles are:

@ukcag @McrCladiators @CladdingSlough @LondonCAG @LeedsCladding @CladdingScandal @lvplcladiators @Londoncladders

If we have missed you off the list of groups & would like to be included please tweet us @NLC_2019

In the budget, the Government announced further funding for the removal of all types of cladding from existing buildings. We cannot be complacent however. If thousands of residents remain in limbo, facing huge costs for fire patrols or unable to mortgage their home, it will simply not be good enough.”

EMAIL YOUR MP TO RAISE THE CMA REPORT IN PARLIAMENT THIS WEEK

Following on from the damning report from the CMA on Friday 28th Feb we are encouraging Leaseholders to write to their MP to bring this to the attention of the government this week to urge them to take ACTION.

WE NEED TO KEEP THIS ISSUE IN THE SPOTLIGHT AND WE NEED YOUR HELP TO DO THAT.

We have written a template letter, but please edit as you need to. The more personal it is to your situation the better (don’t forget to include you address in your email)

Many thanks for your continued support.

Dear (Name of MP)

I am writing to you as a Leaseholder who is trapped in the Leasehold Scandal.

I am sure you are aware the Competitions & Markets Authority (CMA) announced Enforcement action as they have found troubling evidence of potential mis-selling and unfair contract terms in the leasehold housing sector.  

We have had:

8 Government Leasehold Consultations. 

damning Select Committee Inquiry report which received the largest pieces of evidence any Inquiry has EVER received.

And now a damning CMA report which has confirmed leaseholder have been unfairly treated and proposed buyers misled by housing developers.

How much evidence does the government need to take immediate ACTION?  The CMA announcement confirms that they have been systematic failures.

The government promised in 2017 they would Ban future houses being leasehold and also reduce ground rent on future leases to ZERO.  This has NOT happened.  We are still no further forward.  Words are simply not enough. Leaseholders have had enough of waiting for the government to stop these abusive practices and help existing leaseholders who are trapped.

As my MP I ask you to raise this again directly with Ministers.  

Many thanks for your continued support

The CMA has found troubling evidence of potential mis-selling and unfair contract terms in the leasehold housing sector, and is set to launch enforcement action.

LEASEHOLDERS CLAIMS HAVE BEEN VALIDATED BY THE CMA

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cma-finds-evidence-of-serious-issues-in-leasehold-selling

The NLC is going from strength to strength. We have numerous social media platforms we use but the main one is facebook. If you haven’t joined please do so

https://www.facebook.com/groups/nationalleaseholdcampaign/

Together we are stronger – Join now

PRESS RELEASE FOR PUBLICATION: NLC RESPONSE TO CMA ANNOUNCEMENT:  EVIDENCE OF MISSELLING LEASEHOLD HOMES

The National Leasehold Campaign founders are delighted with today’s announcement by the CMA that they intend to take enforcement action and are preparing to take specific cases against developers to tackle the mis-selling & unfair lease terms.

This is as a direct result of the colossal efforts of three years campaigning by Katie Kendrick (Founder); Jo Darbyshire (Co-founder) and Cath Williams (Co-founder) who believe they were all misled during the purchasing process of their homes. They report being given misinformation at the point of sale re the cost of buying their freehold and were not told their freeholds would be sold on to a third party investor without their knowledge.

The news has been welcomed by the 16.5K members of the NLC and more widely by leaseholders throughout England and Wales which number around 6 million home “owners”.

Katie Kendrick states “We would like to thank the CMA for this work and for listening to us – we know it will not be a quick fix but are ready to help in any way we can. We have the evidence and are not too battle weary to continue with this fight.  It is really refreshing to hear our claims validated by the CMA today. Whilst the government proposes to ban future houses being sold leasehold in the future we can not and will not allow them to forget those who are already trapped through no fault of their own.  If it was wrong for the future it was wrong for the past”

The NLC are very optimistic that the outcome of the proposed CMA prosecutions will result in some form of compensation for those already trapped in mis-sold leasehold properties.  

Jo Darbyshire stated “ Information critical to my decision making was deliberately withheld at the point of sale. Had I been given that information I would have bought my freehold from the developer for c.£5K. They sold my freehold on and now it will cost thousands more. It’s time for them to do the right thing and make sure I’m not financially disadvantaged as a result of their systematic mis-selling”

The NLC also hope that any compensation scheme will help those who have had no choice but to pay out large sums for their freeholds to be able to get on with their lives. Many have been forced into this position at the mercy of third party freehold investors to change jobs, start a family and buy a larger property or to downsize when retiring.

Cath Williams states “I needed to move but was advised by the state agent that finding a buyer for a leasehold house would be difficult and its value was £20,000 less than the freehold market. I had absolutely no option but to buy the freehold and it cost me a total of £15,000 to include both sets of legal fees. I had to borrow from family. I want that money back because my house should never have been leasehold in the first place”

Cladding Demonstration London 25th February 1pm

PRESSURE IS MOUNTING …….

Manchester Cladiators have done an incredible job so far uniting leaseholder nationally and have organised this rally next week.

The directly elected mayors of Manchester and Salford will join MPs, and possibly London mayor Sadiq Khan, in a demonstration over the cladding scandal outside Parliament on February 25.

NLC urge all leaseholders to go along to show your support.

We can not stress how important it is we unite together.

Please read Leasehold Knowledge Partnership (LKP) article below for more information.

NLC leads the campaign to save The Victoria Derbyshire show

The Victoria Derbyshire show has backed the National Leasehold Campaign since we launched in 2017. The BBC have announced the show is to be axed. NLC’s founder Katie Kendrick has launched the petition to stop this which has already reached 32,000 signatures.

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION

Other NLC coverage on the Victoria Derbyshire include:

Katie Kendrick has written to the head of the BBC:

Re: Stop the Victoria Derbyshire Show being axed

FOR PUBLICATION.

Dear Lord Hall

My name is Katie Kendrick I am the founder of the National Leasehold Campaign (NLC) and the person who launched the online petition to save the show which now has over 31,000 signatures.

My first reaction when I heard the news about this decision was of disbelief. I felt deeply disappointed that the BBC, a publically funded organisation, could even consider removing a show that provides such an invaluable public service to millions.  This show is pivotal to our society, it reaches the most vulnerable, thus enabling & empowering people to have a voice. I don’t think you should underestimate how much this show provides a voice to many marginalised sectors of society and how imperative it is these voices are heard.

I have read the BBC’s Charter and struggle to understand how this decision can be justified.

“The BBC’s Mission is to act in the public interest, serving all audiences through the provision of impartial, high-quality and distinctive output and services which inform, educate and entertain.

The BBC’s Charter and Agreement sets out what the BBC is for. It has an intrinsic purpose: to provide programmes that inform, educate and entertain people as individuals. And it has an instrumental purpose: to deliver external benefits to society through, for example, creating a richer culture, promoting democratic debate and building a stronger sense of community through shared experiences”

Point 9 of your Charter ‘Acting in the public interest’ states the “BBC MUST act in the public interest”  

“In complying with this article, the BBC must a) ensure that the benefits (whether direct or indirect) of decision relating to the fulfilment of its mission and the promotion of the public purposes outweigh the costs (whether direct or indirect) and b) in doing so, have regard to economic, social & cultural benefits and costs.

Point 10 of your Charter focuses on ‘Engaging with the public’,

“The BBC must carefully and appropriately assess the views and interests of the public and audiences, including licence fee payers, across the whole of the United Kingdom. The BBC must make arrangements to ensure that the diverse perspectives and interests of the public and audiences, including licence fee payers, across the whole of the United Kingdom are taken into account in its decision-making”

You have a responsibility to uphold the Royal Charter for the British Broadcasting Corporation  

For me personally the Victoria Derbyshire show has provided a platform for leaseholders trapped in the Leasehold Scandal to have a voice.  We are at a crucial time in our campaign where government are in the process of drafting legislation to help end the abuses of Leasehold.  I firmly believe the support and exposure of our plight by the Victoria Derbyshire show has been instrumental in getting government to sit up, listen and take action. The Victoria Show promptly engaged with Leaseholders and exposed the Leasehold Scandal in February 2017;  undertaking an exclusive investigation ‘The new property trap affecting thousands’  and further exclusive report in 2019 exposing the ‘Human impact of the Leasehold Scandal on peoples mental health’ I can not thank the show enough for helping us get this far.

My campaign is just one of thousands this show has given a voice to. We need more not less of this kind of journalism. It would be a travesty to loose such an excellent show.

How does the BBC intend to continue to represent the interests of the public if you axe this show? The BBC should be investing in more programmes that engage the public voice, not eradicating it.

It’s clear you have a choice of ‘being part of the problem or part of the solution’.  I urge you to reconsider.

Regards

Katie Kendrick

(Founder of NLC)

NLC LAUNCHES NEW LEAFLETS

NLC would really like your help to distribute our leaflets nationally. If you can help please email us (nationalleaseholdcampaign@gmail.com) or contact us via facebook and we will post them out to you.

We have designed our leaflets to capture a wide range of issues many of us are facing including :

  • Onerous Grond Rents
  • Excessive Major Works
  • Escalating Service Charges
  • Remedial Works Unsafe Cladding
  • Unexplained Admin Fees
  • Unsafe Cladding
  • Retirement Sector
  • Excessive Insurance Premiums
  • Extortionate Permission Fees
  • Costly Litigation Fees
  • Shared Ownership Fees

” We are at a very crucial time in our campaign. With the Law Commissions valuation report released last week it is vitally important we keep the pressure on the government to not simply “tinker” with leasehold reform but take BOLD action.

Leaseholders must mobilise and work together. We ask everyone to take the following actions to help….

WE APPRECIATE IT’S HARD TO KEEP MOTIVATED BUT WE CAN’T GIVE UP NOW. THE SECTOR WANT US TO GET FED UP BUT WE WILL NOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN

NLC ARE THE LEASEHOLDERS’ CAMPAIGN BUT DON’T FORGET TO ALSO SUBSCRIBE TO THE LEASEHOLDERS’ CHARITY – THE LEASEHOLD KNOWLEDGE PARTNERSHIP (LKP) WHO ENSURES THIS REMAINS ON THE POLITICAL AGENDA.

NLC DEMONSTRATION IN LONDON

THE LAW COMMISSIONS LONG AWAITED VALUATION REPORT HAS BEEN RELEASED……

The Law Commission released their report on enfranchisement yesterday. The main document is 322 pages or their summary is 32 page. Both are difficult documents to get your head around.

https://www.lawcom.gov.uk/project/leasehold-enfranchisement/

The NLC statement is below:

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.

PLEASE ASK YOU MP TO JOIN THE APPG ON LEASEHOLD & COMMONHOLD REFORM

NLC BACK HOPTON BUILD FOR HOMEBUILDER OF THE YEAR 2020

Stewart Moxon has supported the NLC since day 1 of the campaign

Who are Hopton Build?

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.

His own unsatisfactory experiences as an investor in leasehold properties: so he is one of the 94% of dissatisfied leasehold owners who regret their decision to purchase, as identified in the National Association of Estate Agents report in September 2018.

Stewart states he is aiming high to help make a new Gold Standard for the benefit of future generations.

Exceptional Success

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.

Hopton Build has a lot of support including Leasehold Knowledge Partnership (LKP), Law Commission (Professor Nick Hopkins), Sir Peter Bottomley MP. Estate Agent Today and the National Leasehold Campaign (NLC). 

Key Support.

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.

Stewart Moxon with Professor Nick Hopkins from the Law Commission

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” 

Hopton Build was also featured in the Law Commissions Consultation Paper: Reinvigorating Commonhold:  The Alternative to Leasehold Ownership 2019)

Stewart also contributed to the Commonhold debate with Law Commission officials in Manchester earlier this year.

How does it go beyond existing best practice?

Leasehold is deeply embedded in the property sector throughout England & Wales as an acceptable way to build and sell flats & apartments.  Hopton Build has been supporting the Law Commission this year to reinvigorate Commonhold as a viable alternative which will give consumers a greater meaning of home ownership.

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

If you would like to also nominate Hopton Build entry’s close tomorrow (20th December)

https://ukhousingawards.co.uk/categories

WELSH GOVERNMENT LEASEHOLD SURVEY CLOSES ON 20th DECEMBER

Final call for leaseholders in Wales…..

If you are a leaseholder with a home in Wales, the Welsh Government would like to hear from you.

The Welsh Government has commissioned the Universities of Bangor, York and Kent to carry out a survey of the specific issues leaseholders in Wales face.

CLICK BELOW TO COMPLETE THE SURVEY

https://www.york.ac.uk/law/research/private-law-in-context/residential-leaseholds-in-wales/english/


As part of this research, they have designed an online survey of leaseholders in Wales. This survey aims to find out more information about:

  • The type of property, the freeholder and manager
  • How much leaseholders knew about leasehold when they bought their home
  • The terms of their leases
  • Any legal action or disputes they have taken because of the lease

There are some fairly closed questions about your own circumstances and your lease. To answer the questions on your lease you might find it useful to have your lease in front of you.

It should take no more than 20 minutes or so to complete, but it may take longer depending how much information you want to provide for the more open-ended questions.

PLEASE COMPLETE THIS SURVEY NOW – GET YOUR VOICES HEARD.

https://www.leaseholdknowledge.com/a-consultation-for-leaseholders-in-wales

NLC DAVID V’S GOLIATH BATTLE FEATURES ON SKY NEWS

The National Leasehold Campaign stepped up the campaign to raise awareness as Sky News covered the Leasehold Scandal

Campaigners caught up in a leasehold “trap” are taking mass legal action for the first time.

Hundreds of leasehold homeowners in the North West have served notice to forcibly buy their freeholds from big investors.

A leasehold only gives you exclusive ownership of the right to occupy the property for the length of the lease.

Read the full article below:

https://news.sky.com/story/leasehold-trap-hundreds-of-homeowners-launch-bid-to-forcibly-buy-freeholds-11887013


Bellway offered this statement.

Changing their practices moving forward doesn’t fix their mistakes of the past.

Bellway struggled to justify their actions when their CEO Mr Honeyman gave evidence at the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee Leasehold Select Committee Inquiry earlier this year.

https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/housing-communities-and-local-government-committee/inquiries/parliament-2017/leasehold-reform-17-19/

PLEASE JOIN THE NATIONAL LEASEHOLD CAMPAIGN (NLC) ON FACEBOOK. WE HAVE OVER 15,500 MEMBERS.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/nationalleaseholdcampaign/?ref=bookmarks

Together we are stronger – Join now