Bootle MP Peter Dowd backs inquiry into leasehold mis-selling

Peter Dowd MP, has backed local home-owners who feel ripped off by their leasehold contracts, calling for the Government to launch an inquiry into the scandal of mis-sold leasehold homes.

An estimated 38% of local homes have been sold as leaseholds in the most recent year for which data is available and a total of 4.3 million properties across England – almost one in five of all homes – are classified as leasehold.

This arrangement, which is most common for flats, means homes are bought but leased rather than entirely owned, with leaseholders often paying a ‘ground rent’ as well as service charges to the property freeholder, or to a managing agent acting on their behalf.

Homeowners who purchased the leasehold of their property are often locked into contracts which force them to seek permission to make basic alterations or to build extensions such as conservatories, despite no planning permission being required.

Peter Dowd said: "Yet again hard working families face another scam and are sick to death of being ripped off. The Government needs to get a grip of this licensed rip off before it destabilises the housing market."

Some leaseholders find they’re obliged to pay extortionate ground rents, while others are locked into rip-off service charges. Many didn’t choose their own solicitor and feel they were poorly advised when purchasing their home. Survey data suggests almost six in ten leaseholders didn’t understand what being a leaseholder meant until they had already purchased the property, and more than nine in ten leaseholders regret buying a leasehold property at all.

In the House of Commons this week, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, John Healey MP, challenged Government Ministers to set up an inquiry into the mis-selling of leasehold homes.

Labour’s Housing Secretary, John Healey MP said: “Leaseholders find they’ve bought their home but still don’t own it, and many feel ripped off by unfair leasehold contracts."

“This is a national scandal but the Government’s action to date has been too weak, too slow and has overlooked the plight of existing leaseholders. Ministers must act to back an inquiry into this systematic leasehold mis-selling, as with other mis-selling scandals like pensions, endowment mortgages and PPI.”

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