Unfair escalating house lease? Unite to challenge housebuilders to convert to freehold.

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Is your house new or recently built? Were the terms leasehold, not freehold, as is more usual?

Does the lease contain unfair ground rent clauses? Or has the lease been transferred to a ground rent company under unknown circumstances? Are you being billed for all manner of things you would not expect to be of any concern to the ground rent company?

HALO: Houseowners Against Leasehold Oppression are petitioning to demand housebuilders convert all homes sold on leasehold since 2007 to freehold on fair terms. If you have one of these vexatious leases and want to get involved to change things, please sign and support our campaign.

Since 2007, around 110,000 owners (source: HALO/Make Public) of new leasehold houses in England and Wales, but not the rest of the UK, have found themselves unexpectedly on the wrong end of a new kind of lease.

The leases included difficult-to-uncover terms that permitted the ground rent to be increased, or even doubled, at regular 10 or 15 year intervals.  The financial impact on the leaseholder is severe. A ten-year doubler lease starting at £350 pa in 2007, would jump to £700 pa this year, to £1,400 pa by 2027, and to £11,200 pa from the 51st year.

These are five of the most serious problems researched by HALO:

  • Why were these houses sold on lease in the first place?
  • The people caught out are mainly young home buyers
  • On trying to sell a leasehold house that has an escalator lease, buyers’ solicitors warn buyers off
  • Original builder’s quote for lease multiplied fourfold and more by ground rent company
  • Leaseholders are held to ransom over vexatious charges for even small internal house changes, which has inspired the name of this campaign

At present there is pressure to change the law in Parliament to ensure new houses are in future built freehold. a 3,000 strong response to Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid's consultation closed on 19th September 2017, and next steps are eagerly awaited.

However, it is unclear whether any law changes that are made will retrospectively cover the existing 110,000 leasehold houses, and that urgent action to tackle the builders is now essential.

Since 2007, the UK's principal builders, Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon, Barratt, Redrow, Countryside, Bellway, and Bovis have all provided conventional houses, but created with them the toxic escalator leases that came to the attention of Parliament and the press in Summer 2017. In very many cases, when the houses were built, the builder secretly transferred the leases to ground rent companies rather than offer them to the leaseholders evenwhen prior agreement to do so was documented.

Who is responsible for these toxic leases?

We argue that the builders are 100% responsible for the scandal. The builders' designed and introduced the toxic house lease contracts. This moral responsibility has not gone away with their selling leases en masse to ground rent companies, in the same way that the tobacco companies could not ultimately evade being sued for their toxic products, or European diesel car makers could not avoid compensating their customers after being found out over rogue emissions software disregardless of the age of the vehicle.

We claim the UK's larger builders are responsible for selling a toxic product, and guilty of an abuse of public trust.

Who is HALO: Houseowners Against Leaseholder Oppression?

HALO is founded  by Chris Clark of Make Public, who is actually a renter and investor in everything except property, but lives in daily dread of his three children all looking to buy a home, and being caught out by these invisible, hard to spot, and toxic leases.  You can read more about HALO: Houseowners Against Leaseholder Oppression here:

https://makepublicblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/unfair-escalating-house-lease-unite-to-challenge-housebuilders-to-revert-to-freehold/

which includes a series of questions and answers.  At the same time why not consider connecting and become a member on our Facebook Groups page at:

facebook.com/groups/halocampaign/

We will keep you informed regularly about our next steps.

For the 110,000 affected leasehold campaigners, at risk of being left behind if Parliament doesn't act retrospectively, this is our campaign to make the major builders own the responsibility of putting the situation right by taking back all 110,000 leases, and converting them to freehold at either a zero cost, or at a freehold purchase price as originally estimated by them at original sale time.

If you are one of the 110,000 house owners suffering from a lease escalator or lease doubler problem, join our campaign to have your original builders convert your nightmare lease to freehold.

In hope and expectation,

Chris Clark, HALO: Houseowners Against Leaseholder Oppression



Today: Make Public/HALO: Housebuyers Against Leasehold Oppression is counting on you

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