I welcome the government’s announcement that it will ban leaseholds on newbuild properties, but more must be done to protect those who are currently trapped in homes and facing extortionate bills.
Many local people caught in this trap tell me the same story: that they were encouraged to use the developer’s choice of solicitor when they bought their homes, that they were not informed of the doubling clause, and that the prices they are being quoted to buy the freehold are simply unaffordable.
Residents are rightly angry that the developers sold off the freehold to a property investment company without first consulting the homeowners and offering them the first chance of purchase. Many pointed out that the lease on their home is for 250 years, and if the ground rent doubles every 15 years it will be £13 million by the end of the lease.
If the government do one thing, they must ban this exponential growth in ground rent.
The government’s announcement this week will protect future buyers, but those already affected by this scandal also need support.