Ruth Cadbury MP has criticised the Government and the Secretary of State Michael Gove for their failure to reform and fix the outdated leasehold system. During a debate on the Government’s Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill on Monday Ruth spoke about a number of local examples of the flaws in the leasehold system.
While home-owners locally own the freehold to their property, many of those in flats only own the lease, meaning that they are expected to pay a service charge, insurance costs and face a number of hurdles and barriers around managing, and selling their property. This has caused a range of problems for leaseholders both in Hounslow and across the country.
In her speech in the House of Commons on Monday 11th December Ruth warned that this ‘rip-off’ system was leaving local residents facing huge financial costs, while being unable to sell their flats due to the ongoing building safety crisis.
Ruth also raised a number of local cases where building managers such as First Port and Randall & Ritner had provided a poor service to their leaseholders, and had failed to fix or address issues around service charge bills and building safety work. She also spoke about the particular set of challenges facing those in shared ownership properties including L&Q and Peabody.
Speaking in full after her speech Ruth said,
‘‘I know from listening to constituents from Chiswick to Hounslow, that they are frankly being ripped off by our outdated, antique and unfair leasehold system.
I’ve heard about so many different issues from local residents, whether it’s the failure to repair lifts, to tackle anti-social behaviour or crime or the spiralling insurance costs. So many residents locally have seen huge hikes in their service charges, while the ‘services’ provided only ever get worse.
I know that those living in so-called ‘shared ownership’, who are generally on fixed salary levels, are facing an extremely hard time with their rent, mortgage payments and service charge all increasing, while many are unable to sell their properties when they want to move on. This increase in costs during a cost of living crisis is having a huge impact on so many people locally, including many working for the NHS, police and local schools.
While the Governments new legislation introduces some much needed changes it fails to go far enough and fails to end the injustice facing leaseholders in flats. That’s why I’ll continue to be a strong voice in Parliament for leaseholders locally and ensure the Government listen and address their concerns.’’