Report finds leasehold properties require reform

laura mather lease solicitor devon barnstaple ilfracombe

A report by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee published on 19 March has called for urgent reforms to restore the "balance of power in existing leases, legislation and public policy" because they have found that it is currently "too heavily weighted against leaseholders".

The report comes after concerns over leasehold properties and extortionate ground rents hit the headlines but suggests that it is not only leasehold house owners who are affected but that tenants of flats, particularly new builds, are also being treated not as homeowners but as a "source of steady profit". 

It suggests that leaseholders are being subjected to "high and opaque service charges and one-off bills, unfair permission charges, alleged mis-selling of leasehold properties by developers, imbalanced dispute mechanisms, inadequate advice services, and unreasonable costs to enfranchise or extend leases".

Our Commercial and Residential conveyancing solicitor, Laura Mather, comments: "this report is welcomed as a first step towards bringing the balance of power back in line with what would be expected of a fair and consumer friendly system. I am particularly pleased to see the committee recognising the risks associated with financial incentives encouraging buyers to use a developer's chosen solicitor. Buyers should be free to use any solicitor that they have chosen and who they trust. It is imperative that we act in our clients' best interests and even the most upstanding professional will find this difficult when relying on repeat work from developers and feeling the pressure of strict exchange deadlines".

At Samuels Solicitors LLP, we have a wealth of experience in assisting clients with leasehold and new build property. We are also dealing with multiple cases involving ground rent claims, where ground rents double every 5 or 10 years, to levels which make the property difficult or impossible to mortgage and therefore unsellable.

If you are thinking of buying a new build property or have questions over a lease, contact us today to find out how we can help. If you need help to bring a claim in relation to your ground rent, we may be able to assist you on a conditional (no win no fee) basis.

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