End lease fees scandal, says campaigner
ASOUTHPORT councillor has slammed “exploitative” property charges after a family were told they would need a licence costing almost £400 just to change the carpet in one room.
When the family inquired about building an extension, they say they were told that a licence allowing them to do so would be £1,500.
Cambridge Ward councillor Pat Keith said: “I was called in by this family who live in Virginia Street and was shocked to learn that even to change a carpet requires a licence which in itself costs £360.
“This is like something from a dictatorial regime – not in the land of the free. It is beyond belief.”
At last week’s full Sefton Council meeting, Cllr John Pugh revealed more than 92% of new homes sold in Sefton in 2016/17 were leasehold.
Cllr Keith, a leading campaigner for the abolition of leasehold homes, told the meeting: “The family who contacted me were first asked for a non-refundable fee of £108 just to start the process of trying to build a small extension.
“Then they were told they needed a licence from the agents which cost £360, plus the fees for a surveyor and solicitor chosen by the agents, which totalled £1,480.
“On top of this, they were then told there was an extra cost called a ‘landlord premium’ which was unspecified.
“All this preceded the cost of the extension itself and, needless to say, they couldn’t afford to do it.
“When this family went to view the housing development the sales board stated ‘houses for sale’ – not tenancies for sale.
“I’m appalled by the way people are duped by this feudal system which applies only in England and Wales. The Government has promised to stop it – but when? The 12th of never?”
There are currently about four million leasehold properties in the UK, leaving residents vulnerable to what critics say are rapacious demands from freeholders.
The structure of a leasehold dwelling and the land it stands on are owned by the freeholder, who grants a lease for a certain number of years – anything from 99 to 999. Ownership of the property reverts to the freeholder when the lease ends.
Leaseholders are charged ground rent and, often, maintenance costs such as annual service charges – and have to ask permission to make even small alterations to the property.
According to a study by the National Association of Estate Agents, 62% of those who have bought a leasehold house in the past decade feel that they were missold.
HAVE you been affected by these charges? What do you think? Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or message us via the Visiter page on Facebook.
Cllr Pat Keith has slammed ‘exploitative’ property charges