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.
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).
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”
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