October 22, 2019

Progress report on our Houses of Parliament briefing

There is exactly two weeks to go before the LKP/Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation briefing at the Houses of Parliament things are moving along at a pace.

  •  All MPs and Lords have now received a formal invitation to attend from Sir Peter Bottomley MP.
  • Our speakers are lined up.
  • Key members of staff from the Ministry of Justice and Department of Communities and Local Government have been invited.

In the mean time please keep writing to your MP to encourage them to attend.

 

Comments

  1. Great work Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation! Of course, it is in the interest of all the political parties, plus the general public not to have a third world leasehold housing system, where leaseholders spend years at the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal — I can’t see why any forward-thinking housing Minister would want to preserve a system which is not fit for purpose!

  2. I agree with the comments about the backward leasehold legislation, written by some easy money solicitors no doubt!

  3. percy kuted says

    I have asked by email my MP Paul Burstow to attend the meeting on the 30th,
    but as in the past he may be too busy. Keep up the good work.

    • MPs are always very “busy”. You may want to ask Mr Burstow what he’s doing instead if he says he can not get along to the meeting. Maybe we should give a prize to the person who’s MP gives the weakest excuse?

  4. I have written to MP Caroline Dinenage and so has my friend— hopefully she should be sympathetic as there are many problem leasehold properties in Gosport and the surrounding area, plus of course the £144 million Rowner Regeneration is going on as we speak— this was a situation where the Leasehold valuations were involved for over seven years.

  5. MICHAEL HOLLANDS says

    I have just watched the House of Commons Park Homes Bill being discussed and the problems experienced by residents appear to be very similar to thiose in Retirement Homes.( Perhaps a bit more severe).
    So I would suggest to any MP who does not attend the Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation briefing meeting that they read the transcript of the Park Home debate to get the gist of our argument.
    If after all this the Government still refuses to act the I suggest they introduce a regulatory body similar to OFCOM or OFGEM to control the leasehold retirement industry.
    They could set clear and understandable rules and be easy to contact for those who have complaints. It would also save the Government a lot of hard work and would also save them upsetting some of their friends who run this industry.

  6. percy kuted says

    Will I be able to attend on the 30th as a spectator?does anyone know?

    • Sorry the room booked for the briefing is for MPs and Lords only so there is no public gallery. We hope to arrange something next year where there will be space for members of the public. We will be providing a full report on the event on the evening on the 30th. More details of those speaking at the meeting will be posted on Tuesday.

  7. Tony Warren (Cedarjett) says

    You are well aware of my dire problem at a high media profile retirement development (Retirement Villages)which was “mirrored” by the second Dispatches program. I recently met with my MP David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, and discussed the problem at our village development which is similar to “Ewh”. I am endorsing your recommendations to him that he attends the briefing on 30th October.

  8. Here is the message I’ve sent to my MP Nick Clegg:

    I have been in touch with you before about the issue of Leasehold Reform, particularly in relation to the problems my elderly Father experienced when he bought his first – and last – retirement leasehold flat at Kings Court (also in your constituency). You passed my concerns onto the then Housing Minister Grant Shapps. However, he simply trotted out the mantra he always used. Namely, that the “balance of power (between freeholder and leaseholder) is about right”. This is manifestly not true – particularly in relation to the elderly, who – like my Father – had succumbed to the honeyed McCarthy & Stone advertising. Abuses in leasehold-land have been recently exposed very recently by two excellent Dispatches Channel 4 programmes. The most recent (on September 24th) was called ‘Undercover Retirement Home’, and concentrated on some of the problems experienced by the elderly, who are especially vulnerable to exploitation, in this regard.

    I did not pursue the matter with you at the time. Just made a note to self to never buy a leasehold property. Leasehold is a feudal form of tenure, and has no place in modern England. We now have a new Housing Minister, who has gone on record to say he wishes to encourage the building or more low-cost housing. This is a laudable aim, and would be an excellent opportunity for the leasehold nettle to be firmly grasped at the same time. There is absolutely no reason for any more leasehold properties to be built. They should be either freehold or commonhold. But this will only be achieved by legislation, as leasehold is much more profitable for the developer. However, at least that would put a lid on the problem, as it would ensure that the stock of leasehold properties would not be increased.

    Then, the thorny question of regulation needs to be tackled. There are many examples of abuse, some more obvious than others. eg The hidden but excessive profits on insurance made by freehold landlords at the expense of the leaseholders, who have to pay the bills. You may also know that the Office of Fair Trading is in the process of concluding a three-year investigation into the fairness of the exit fees routinely charged by freeholders to owners of retirement leasehold properties, when they come to sell. Regrettably, while saying they believe these may constitute ‘unfair contract terms’, the OFT declined to pursue the matter through the Courts, which would have been the only way for them to try and have the contract terms formally declared illegal. You can see this is an area fraught with complexity.

    The reason I am writing to you again, is to ask that you be represented at the following meeting. Just half an hour. All MPs are being invited, but I wanted to let you know personally how important this is. CarlEX is the Campaign Against Retirement Leasehold EXploitation ( http://www.Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation.co ), and has jointly secured this meeting with the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership. I’m reproducing the invitation below, and do hope you are able to send someone from your Office, if you aren’t able to attend personally. This is a truly important matter, and one which badly needs reform!

    Dear Colleagues,

    Leasehold ‘legal torture’ in dire need of reform

    A briefing by the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership and the Campaign Against Retirement Leasehold Exploitation

    October 30th 3-3.30pm Room Q, Portcullis House, Westminster

    The Leasehold Knowledge Partnership/Campaign against Retirement Leasehold Exploitation have organised a briefing for MPs and Peers to explain some of the systemic problems faced by the leasehold sector and potential solutions to these problems.

    The leasehold sector represents a large and ever growing proportion of the country’s housing stock; from those living in sheltered retirement accommodation, through to the private flats which increasingly dominate our towns and cities.

    To be effective leaseholders need to act collectively. This is difficult to organise and numerous stratagems are used to frustrate attempts to seek redress at the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT). In a recent case, a landlord’s lawyers attempted to stop pensioners taking their case to the LVT on three separate occasions.

    The meeting will include representatives from leaseholders, managing agents and landlords together with the main authors of the recent London Assembly and CentreForum reports on this subject.

    This year has already seen two short debates in the Lords. There have been two recent highly critical ‘Dispatches’ programmes on Channel 4 examining problems in the residential and retirement leasehold sector as well as two reports into the sector as follows:

    The report from CenteForum, August 2012, “A New Lease of Life” looks at issues across the country with support and input from members of the three main political parties. It states: “Britain’s system of leasehold tenure is in dire need of reform”.

    The London Assembly’s “Highly Charged” report, published March 2012, is now adopted as the all party policy for the Assembly and states: “Problems have dogged the service charges regime for many years. It’s critical that all the agencies involved, from central Government down to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal, look at ways of improving the transparency and equity of service charges”

    Regards,
    Sir Peter Bottomley MP
    House of Commons
    London SW1A 0AA

  9. I have today received a surface mail reply from my Constituency MP, who appears to be just a tad upset with my stinging remarks on Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation. He wishes for me to clear the air on Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation Web Site, well sorry to disappoint you old lad, but, that isn’t going to happen. I asked for help to get the Law changed, so that we Freehold Owners would have the same rights as Leaseholders, but, someone wouldn’t go to Grant Shapps to ask for that right for us. Hardly surprising then that my anger and frustration with those in a position to do something about it either cannot or will not do anything for us, is it?

    The MP in my consitiuency, I didn’t and wouldn’t vote for, but, as our elected MP, I have no choice of who I have to consult.

    Meanwhile, I again invite others who know best, let us be clear, we Freeholders do not have the Right to Manage Option.

    • We spoke to your MP’s office who advised they had suggested a couple of issues to consider under your lease. They obviously can not talk to us in any more detail about your case. You also offered to send in a copy of your lease. We will are happy to look over it for you to see what options might exist.

      In the mean time can we advise that a review of the RTM rules and protections for freeholds is one of the issues being raised at next weeks meeting. Grant Shapps was opposed to taking any action so hopefully now he’s moved on there will be an opportunity to consider these issues differently with the new Housing Minister.

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