Thank you for contacting me about leasehold reform.
I agree there is a need to promote fairness and transparency for the growing number of leaseholders. Where leasehold is used in properties such as flats it often makes sense. However, an increasing number of new-build houses are now being sold on leasehold terms for no good reason. This can create a convenient revenue stream for developers, but it provides little in the way of benefits for consumers.
There are 1.2 million leasehold houses currently recorded in England and the number of leasehold sales is growing rapidly. Leasehold can often expose homebuyers to unreasonable and long-term financial abuse. A number of my constituents, and those of my colleagues, have shared stories of how their homes have become unsellable thanks to unfair leasehold terms. That is why the Government is taking action to make future leases fairer.
The Government announced in February 2017 that it would be consulting on a range of measures to tackle all unfair and unreasonable abuses of leasehold. I am encouraged by the speed with which this has been acted upon. The Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, had set out radical new proposals to reform this area. These included banning new build houses being sold as leasehold except in exceptional circumstances, restricting ground rents to as low as zero, closing legal loopholes to protect leaseholders from possession orders, and looking at how best the Government can help existing leaseholders.
You may be interested to know that a consultation on these measures is now open for 8 weeks, until 19 September 2017. You can find out more about how to contribute your views here: www.gov.uk/government/consultations/tackling-unfair-practices-in-the-le….
I hope these measures will help to deliver a fairer, more transparent system for homebuyers.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.