Campaigners want leaseholds to be abolished and replaced with a fairer system.
A petition claims leaseholders have been abused under the feudal system and their properties have become ‘virtually un-saleable due to their lease terms’.
‘Developers are changing from leasehold to “Fleecehold”. Which means they keep toxic covenants in the freehold transfer such as permission fees,’ wrote Katie Kendrick, who started the change.org petition.
‘This must not be allowed to continue.’
What is a leasehold?
- You only own a leasehold property for a fixed period of time.
- You’ll have a legal agreement with the landlord (sometimes known as the ‘freeholder’) called a ‘lease’. This tells you how many years you’ll own the property.
- Ownership of the property returns to the landlord when the lease comes to an end.
- Most flats are leasehold. Houses can be leasehold too and usually are if they’re bought through a shared ownership scheme.
Ms Kendrick argued freeholders should not be able to threaten tenants with eviction as this was bullying.
She added: ‘This behaviour, which is commonplace in modern day England and Wales is leading to serious harassment of individual tenants and sometimes whole communities by unscrupulous Landlords and unregulated Managing Agents.’
Her solution was to replace leaseholds with ‘commonholds’, which last for an indefinite period of time, to mirror other western countries.
Ms Kendrick wants the government to conduct a full review of leasehold legislation and hopes leaseholders may be helped retrospectively.
The Conveyancing Association (CA) has also said it’s unhappy with property management and leaseholders.
It responded to the government’s request for evidence regarding regulation in this area by making a few suggestions.
It wanted regulators to put a stop to ‘unreasonable fees charged by Lease Administrators’ by introducing legislation that would cap fees and make it harder for them to ‘invent’ services in order to charge customers more.
Beth Rudolf, who is director of delivery at the CA, said: ‘Regulation seems to be the only way of achieving solid consumer protection in a scenario where the payer of the service is not the contracting party for the service.
‘The fact that the industry, including the managing agents, have been calling for regulation themselves is compelling and we believe now is certainly the time for action to be taken.’
Metro.co.uk has approached the The Association of Freeholders (TAF) for a comment.