July 18, 2024

Labour to cap ‘legalised extortion’ of ground rents and end leasehold houses

… Opposition and government now compete to reform leasehold

Today's announcement by John Healey, Labour's shadow Communities Secretary, puts Opposition and government into competition over which will reform leasehold law

Today’s announcement by John Healey, Labour’s shadow Communities Secretary, puts Opposition and government into competition over which will reform leasehold law

The four-year campaign of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership to reform leasehold has taken a surge forward this week.

Today Labour said that it will cap charges that leaseholders pay in ground rents, and set out a plan to end leasehold houses in new developments.

Meanwhile, government this week consulted with senior sector figures who have publicly expressed disquiet and urged reform.

The issues that gave rise to this situation can be read on LKP here

LKP / Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation, the trustees and MP patrons, met senior civil servants last week.

On December 14 the All Party Parliamentary Group on leasehold reform, of which LKP is the secretariat, will discuss with housebuilders concerns over ground rents and leasehold houses.

Today Labour’s shadow secretary of state for housing, John Healey MP said that reforming the sector was “unfinished business”.

Labour wants to stamp out the doubling ground rents reported on LKP that have made some leasehold properties unsellable.

The Guardian is wholly endorsing the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership / Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation campaign to reform the sector.

It has been driven up the agenda of the party by Jim Fitzpatrick, patron of LKP.

Earlier this week LKP and Mr Fitzpatrick met Ruth Cadbury MP, who is the shadow housing minister, for a briefing on a range of leasehold issues.

Labour says it “will look at what fresh legislation will be needed to end the routine use of leasehold ownership in developments of new houses entirely, moving towards the abolition of ground rents”.

This is unfinished business for the party that introduced the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act in 2002 to try to deal with leaseholders being ripped off by “unscrupulous developers or managing agents”.

The Guardian has published another article saying that a new era of housebuilding needs new property laws


Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State John Healey MP said:

“Home-owners who own their home on a leasehold basis are currently unprotected from huge rises in rip-off ‘ground rents’ from developers or management companies.

“At its worst this is little more than legalised extortion and too many leaseholders are having to pay hefty bills as a result. Under a Labour government this sharp practice would end.

“This is unfinished business for Labour – we gave leaseholders more protection in government, but the continuing problem now means we must do more.

“A Labour government would give leaseholders security from rip-off ground rents and end the routine use of leasehold ownership in new housing developments.”


  1. Congratulations to SKP and Patron MPs for successfully exposing the many leasehold problems during the 2 hour slot in Parliament on 20th Dec 2016.

    What was not pointed out is that :

    1. Governments are voted into power by “leaseholders” and not by the unscrupulous directors of ground rent investment companies.

    2. MPs on both sides in Parliament represent their voters in constituencies and should be seeking reforms to the leasehold system instead of allowing Government to protect an unfair lease agreements, written in favour of the freeholder and keeping unfair terms in many past L&T Acts.

    3. Leaseholders pay 20% or 40%/45% tax on their earnings + 20% VAT on many products and services whilst freeholders operating under company name can deduct loan interest from their rental income and some companies manage to pay no tax for many years. Its the leaseholders paying their tax to support Government in power and its perverse for Government to protect the freeholders interest against the leaseholders.