Throughout April and May, we ran a high-profile campaign across our sites, Landlord Today, Estate Agent Today, Letting Agent Today and Property Investor Today, to support the calls for commonhold to replace leasehold.
This included a feature on the stories of those with personal experience of owning a leasehold home, an expert panel discussion asking whether commonhold was the solution to solving the leasehold crisis, and a special case study of commonhold builder Stewart Moxon.
A major part of the campaign also involved inviting readers from across our publications to send in their questions on leasehold/commonhold for Heather Wheeler, MP for South Derbyshire and housing and homelessness minister, to answer – to which we received a brilliant response, collated here.
We passed these on to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in late May, and in the time since there has been some positive movement forward in the effort to eradicate unfair leasehold practices (albeit proposals that were immediately blasted by prominent leasehold reform campaigner Louie Burns), while Wheeler herself has been embroiled in a race row for which she has subsequently apologised.
An announcement by Housing Secretary James Brokenshire in late June revealed a number of steps the government is taking to tackle unfair leasehold practices, including:
+ Pernicious ground rents on new leases being reduced to £0, stopping leaseholders from being charged rising fees for which they receive zero benefit.
+ All new houses to be sold on a freehold basis unless there are exceptional circumstances, ending the unscrupulous practice of unnecessary leaseholds.
+ Immediate action to ban Help to Buy being used to support leasehold houses, preventing taxpayers’ money from being used to fund the unjustified sale of leasehold houses.
But our own attempts to get answers from MHCLG have proved less fruitful.
Despite repeated attempts, and repeated promises that we would receive something soon, the answers have still failed to materialise.
We will keep trying and update you if and when we finally receive the government’s response.
Words by Matthew Lane, Angels Media.