Proposed Leasehold Reforms -Looks like a good start

However, I cant abide the family they rolled out complaining that they had no idea as to what it meant when they bought their leasehold house, and now they cannot sell it and want a refund of all the fees. What?

I find myself shouting “you’ll still have to pay for the maintenance of the communal areas” at the tv.

They could always buy the freehold. In fact both flats I have bought ( period conversions) the developer transferred the leasehold to Share of freehold when all flats were sold for a consideration of a hundred quid.

I suspect it is the big national house builders that are fleecing leaseholders for ground rent and charges. Still don't understand why they don't attempt to buy it, if it such an issue.

Housing estate builders should be made to develop the roads to a standard so that they can be adopted by the LA.  Then each house curtilage can go the public highway, be sold freehold, and there's no need for communal area maintenance (ie cutting the grass twice a year) etc.   

kimmy is definitely a civil servant wanting more work to go to the job-for-lifers

Except their conveyancers probably explained it clearly and they wanted to buy it any way coz it was their dream home and they wanted on the ladder.

You do have to ask at some point surely people have to own their own mistakes?

Same with people buying in flood areas.

Or overpriced cities.

Or whatever. 

Do you think I can start a campaign for people who bought fixed rate mortgages during a time of unprecedented  monetary policies to depress interest rates? I would be probably be owed a 6 figure sum.

But Im not going to as Im not a whiny moron that expects someone else to bail me out of my dumb decisions.

TBF I expect a lot of conveyancers at the lower end of the market, doing volume work for housebuilders, didn’t properly explain the implications of buying leasehold. There’s probably quite a lot of prof neg work to be had for this kind of thing.

Buying the freehold of a leasehold house under the 1967 Act is a right pain and highly technical.

Trouble is local councils insist on play areas for children and communal open space that they won’t adopt that still needs maintaining.  Generally the roads are adopted if it’s a big development.  Shared roads are more common if it’s only a handful of houses.

I should add both flats, were marketed /sold as leasehold with a share of freehold from the outset.

@proboner surely it is not the responsibility of the freeholder/vendors solicitors to explain but the purchasers solicitors??

to echo proboner - the housebuilder panel firms do it on incredibly low margins, and at high volume. Leasehold as a concept is surprisingly technical and complex. Is it any wonder that it is either oversimplified in explanations to potential buyers, or simply glossed over? And that's not even considering when the drafting is poor - see Arnold v Britten...

Are there idiots who were well informed and went ahead anyway? Probably.

Should there be a much higher level of consumer protection when it comes to buying houses and flats? Definitely.

ebidta - Housebuilders have panel firms that they recommend to prospective buyers.

The panel firms are ostensibly acting on behalf of the buyer, and not on behalf of the housebuilder.


The panel firms also get bulk volume referral work from the housebuilder. There may even be referral bonuses.


If the housebuilder sale contracts and leases are drafted in a way that allows for housebuilder to potentially fleece a prospective buyer - whether through ground rent or service charge or fees for getting consent for works - that is unlikely to get flagged by the panel firm who would lose future business...


Jamie that is a bloody disgrace. One of the reasons , among many others I have never bought of a big developer. Always been a local(ish) family run developer , who have been renovating in the locale for decades.

The model you describe is surely a matter for the SRA. Who in their right mind would mandate a solicitor , recommended by the developer??

Lots of people because they’re told they’re familiar with the documents so it will be cheaper and faster.  Yet another reason it’s madness choosing the adviser for your biggest purchase on the basis of cost alone.

If anyone asks me if they should use the recommended firm I’ll tell them definitely not because you want someone with no interest who will look at everything critically and flag stuff that’s wrong.

There are firms now who specialise in things like resales at Battersea which makes sense because the title structure there is so complex and the planning agreements so big that that they can save a lot of time by being familiar with it all.

Surely they all trot out a standard ROT, which the client doesn’t read or understand.

unless there is something novel about the lease I can’t see much mileage in a claim.

as I haven’t dealt with a lease for at least 10 years and am not a litigator I could very well be wrong.

My inability to wrap my head around the concept (and implications) of buying a leasehold is one reason I have been reluctant to buy anything in London.

The standard PLC report has a section explaining how a lease is a right to live somewhere for a number of years which will need to be renewed but they only added it quite recently.  However, even before that the report included a summary of the lease terms running to several pages that might have made people stop and think for a second about why there are restrictions on changes to the property if they own the property.

I expect many people didn’t get a report at all or got one that didn’t fully explain matters such as service charges.

why do you need a report that regurgitates the wording of the lease?  

It summarises it in plain English in the hope that it might stop clients doing stuff they are not meant to do and causing problems when they eventually come to sell.

That should not be made part of conveyancing, what a waste of time and buyer's money that would be

I am with Canary Worf on this.  If they are signing a lease they should read it and query where there is ambiguity

What is more of an issue is the profit motive of these listed house builders.  It just encourages shoddy workmanship and has done for the last 30 years of construction

If being given legal advice is a waste of time and money then we may as well all pack up and go home.

Last time they announced this there were big exceptions for crown estate and other landed estates were excluded - anyone read the proposed detail rather than the press release if there is any?

As far as I know there is no detail yet.

Piechucker you know we exist to provide clients with summaries of their legal obligations ideally in words of one syllable?

Of course the correct answer is not to be a betapauper and instead buy a freehold house. 

Near where I live in Newcastle there is an estate of leasehold properties owned by the Mary Magdalene and Holy Jesus Trust.

As it is a charity it does not have to extend a lease. It is a registered charity and presumably regards it as a worthwhile investment not to. The property is excluded 

Along comes a buyer in 1987 buys the house AFTER legislation is passed excluding them from enfranchisement. Roll on 30 years and there are floods of tears as the lessee cant extend their lease and if the charity offer to do so outside the Act is all terribly unfair - gets the local MP to stand in the House of Commons and plead on their behalf

When they bought the property in 1987, they would have known they do not have a right to extend and it is reasonable to assume the price they paid reflected that…





Trouble is conveyancers who don’t do much lease extension and enfranchisement won’t know charities are exempt and the buyer might have seen something about having to renew the lease in the report and won’t have asked the question.  There are plenty of conveyancers who struggle with basic lease extensions.

The current leasehold extension legislation only came in in 1993 as well.

Dont forget the 1967 Act allowed leasehold house to be extended and that is what these properties in Newcastle are

Surely it’s caveat emptor if the lawyer did their job. Amazes me to hear about people complaining about paying service charge, having been informed of it on the purchase. 

Rue I’m not sure all of them were informed.  Solicitor who bought my old flat for me was terrible and there was no written report and he just ran through stuff verbally in his office before I signed the contract.  I suspect his lay clients got a bit more but probably not much more.