Leasehold Changes

Housing, Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5th November 2018.

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Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Industrial Strategy) 12:00 am, 5th November 2018

What recent steps he has taken to ensure that changes to existing leaseholds are more (a) accessible and (b) affordable.

Photo of Heather Wheeler Heather Wheeler Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

It is right that developers who sold leaseholds with onerous terms should support their customers to amend them. Some developers have introduced assistance schemes, which is welcome, but these must go further and faster. We are meeting developers shortly to discuss progress, and we will take further action as necessary.

Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Industrial Strategy)

The St Mary Magdalene and Holy Jesus Trust in my constituency is a charity that is refusing to allow its leaseholders to extend their leases, in a wholly uncharitable way. The Secretary of State talks about roundtables and reviews, but when will my constituents get some sort of justice and the ability to extend their leases?

Photo of Heather Wheeler Heather Wheeler Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

The hon. Lady has a particular problem with a particular trust. The good news is that, following last year’s discussions, the trust has now made an offer to some of her constituents to enable them to purchase their freeholds. I am aware that her constituents have found the freehold purchase price of the leasehold properties to be prohibitive. We are also aware that different formulas are in use to establish the cost of enfranchisement. The Government are looking to standardise enfranchisement processes and have asked the Law Commission to review current arrangements, including the valuation methodology. This will support existing leaseholders by making buying the freehold or extending the leasehold easier, faster and cheaper.