Leasehold should be banned and replaced by a system where people can own their flat or house for life instead of a limited period set by the owners of the freehold of the property - an Oxfordshire property management expert claimed today.
In launching a new website Alan Draper, managing director of Common Ground Estate & Property Management Ltd, of Littlemore, Oxford, said: ”Feudalism should not exist in the 21st century, but it does. It’s called leasehold.”
Alan, whose company manages property in Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and west London, called for leasehold to be banned and replaced by commonhold, which would entitle people of newly built flats to the freehold.
He criticised the government of the day for not embracing commonhold 18 years ago and said: “The government had the chance to end leasehold in 2002 with commonhold but failed to make commonhold compulsory so nothing changed. Why? Money as ever. Owning freehold is a licence to print money.”
He also drew attention to the Law Commission report, which was published in July this year. The main recommendations were to re-invigorate commonhold, improve the process by which leaseholders can buy the freehold or extend their lease and make it easier and cheaper for leaseholders to take over the management of their building without buying the freehold.
Alan, who launched his website today said: “Most freeholders make their money in passive ways by enacting clauses to the leases meaning leaseholders have to pay ground rent, insurance (for which the freeholder gets a commission) and a variety of administrative charges for consents to alter their property or to let and by lease extension which can run into tens of thousands of pounds.
“I am working within the industry to get this changed. I launched my company 10 years ago to give people a transparent service and to help them to understand their rights. Houses and flats are not just items on developers’ accounts. They are people’s homes.
“While welcoming the Law Commission changes, I feel strongly that leasehold should be banned going forward.”
A UK Government petition has just been launched to ban leasehold houses and set ground rents on new-build flats to zero https://bit.ly/3jE9z5b The Law Commission proposals are about “making our homes ours, rather than someone else’s assets” according to Prof Nick Hopkins, Law Commissioner.