In November a conference is being held to address leasehold reform. CARL (Campaign for the Abolition of Residential Leasehold) promise an interesting line-up of speakers and plans for the next stage of a campaign on behalf of leaseholders.
Sunday 14 November.
Lecture Theatre, Kensington Central Library, Horton St, London W8 7RX. 2pm.
CARL has listed five key reforms they want dropped into the forthcoming housing bill. The reforms, they say, are long overdue and wouldn’t take up much Parliamentary time.
1. A sunset clause on leasehold tenure, to be replaced with Commonhold or co-operative ownership.
2. An end to forfeiture – which gives freeholders draconian rights to seize a leasehold property where terms of the lease have been breached. Solicitors say this only happens rarely and only as a last resort, but when Leasehold Knowledge Partnership made an FOI request for numbers last year, the government had to admit they they didn’t keep a record.
3. Scrap the costly and intimidating residential property tribunal system. This is widely reputed to be biased against leaseholders, and the cost of taking a dispute to it usually exceeds the amounts in dispute. CARL want it replaced with an independent ombudsman scheme.
4. Change the valuation rules so that they reflect the respective contributions of leaseholders and freeholders. Currently freeholders contribute nothing while leaseholders pay for everything. Yet leaseholders are expected to pay the freeholder for allowing a lease extension or purchase of freehold.
5. Set up a specialist leasehold crime unit to deal with the fraud and corruption routinely being practiced against leaseholders. As Warner leaseholders we have issues with overpriced insurance but many other leaseholders across the country are being charged thousands per annum in service charges, but are not allowed to see any accountability for how this is spent.