Britain

Hundreds of homeowners launch bid to forcibly buy freeholds

Campaigners caught up in a leasehold "trap" are taking mass legal action for the first time.

Hundreds of leasehold homeowners in the northwest have served notice to forcibly buy their freeholds from big investors.

A leasehold only gives you exclusive ownership of the right to occupy the property for the length of the lease.

These can be anything between 99 to 999 years when a lease is first created.

Image: Katie Kendrick believes she was miss-sold her property

They are almost unique to England and Wales and have long been controversial.

Advertisement

Interest-free Help to Buy loans meant new-build houses were often sold as leasehold by developers, who could then take advantage of rising ground rents or sell the freeholds to a third party.

More than six million properties in England and Wales are leasehold, according to the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership.

More from UK

Nurse Katie Kendrick is one of thousands who bought new homes on leases, to later discover the developer had sold the right to own their home.

The mother-of-one bought her home in Cheshire in 2014 believing she would be able to buy the freehold two years later. She has since started the National Leasehold Campaign which now has more than 10,000 members.

Ms Kendrick said: "I want to own the property that I'm paying a mortgage for. It doesn't sit right with me and it gives me many sleepless nights that somebody else actually owns my property.

"I absolutely feel like I was misled at the point of sale. Had I known then what I know now there's no way that I would have entered into such a vulnerable, complex system that I'm now trapped in.

Government reform document
Image: The government has been looking at reforming leasehold rules

"If it was their intention to sell my freehold on they should have been upfront with that at the point of sale. I absolutely believe that I was misled and miss-sold this property."

The other concern for leaseholders is that landowners can impose strict rules on their lease. With homeowners having to pay, sometimes large costs, for anything from changing the carpet to building a conservatory.

The Home Builders Federation, that represents developers, believes there iRead More – Source