• The accelerated trend for new-build houses being sold as leaseholds means that some developers, once the properties have been built, have then sold the freeholds to investment companies, which in turn has led to any agreed charges being reviewed and extensively increased by the new freehold owners.

    In response to media interest and highly publicised cases, the Department for Communities and Local Government have now intervened stating that some of the terms in the leases ‘were becoming increasingly onerous’ and have proposed a public consultation to reduce ground rents to a ‘real costs incurred method’. This could stop future developers and investment companies exploiting these additional charges within leaseholds on new build properties in England, however, it does not assist existing leasehold owners.

    It has been highlighted that there are 1.2 million cases of leasehold properties with high additional charges, leading to what was described as a ‘broken housing market’. This, in turn, affects future sales, with existing owners trying to seek remedy and redress with the housebuilders, or solicitors if the increased charges were not highlighted to prospective buyers prior to exchange of contract.

    With the consultation being proposed to last for eight weeks, unrest still lies where leasehold properties exists.

    Respond to the ‘Tackling unfair practices in the leasehold market’ public consultation online

    For further advice on your property contact our residential property team.

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