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Newspaper Columns

KM Column - Leaseholds - 4 July 2019

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a much-needed increase in housing in our local area, allowing more people to start their lives and families in our community and without having to leave parents and friends and move further away. But many of these homes, especially flats and new-build houses, are now sold as leasehold rather than freehold.

 For some this works well, for many others it causes problems, especially where homeowners are reliant on others to get changes which improve their area. High service charges and remote landlords can leave people tied to a leasehold that is both unnecessary and unfair. 

 Sadly, here in West Kent we are not immune from this, particularly in new developments like Leybourne Chase where I have been working hard to improve the level of service many residents get.

 Of course, residents here are not alone, and many in our local area, county and throughout the country, suffer from similar problems. That is why the Competitions and Markets Authority have opened an investigation into the leasehold housing market. They're concerned about potential mis-selling, and whether leasehold contract terms are onerous and unfair in relation to ground rent, permission and other charges.

 It’s something that affects many of us, so if it does affect you, even slightly, please take a look at www.gov.uk/cma-cases/leasehold and provide information by 12 July to the relevant area. It's important that leaseholders are treated fairly and I'm glad the Competitions and Markets Authority are looking into this.

 

Georgie Welford