Around 70 people attended a packed meeting in Chapel-en-le-Frith on Saturday with High Peak MP Ruth George to share their concerns after buying a leasehold home in High Peak.
Ruth said: “Many purchasers of leasehold homes across High Peak have told me they feel they are not getting a fair deal when they attempt to purchase the Freehold to their property and some feel they were misled.”
Most of the new homes in High Peak are now being sold on long leases of 99 or 150 years where tenants have to pay ground rent each year. They can also be charged for all sorts of other things most homeowners take for granted, such as having a pet or putting decking or a shed in their garden.
When leaseholders ask to buy the Freehold of their home so they can stop paying these charges, they are often quoted a huge cost which they have to pay or face expensive legal costs to challenge it.
“As MP for High Peak I have met dozens of homeowners and I am now helping to co-ordinate information and action, both locally and in Parliament.
“The number of people who attended on Saturday shows just what an important issue this is for people across High Peak, from first time buyers to retired couples. It was particularly worrying that many people felt that they had been given conflicting information by the marketing teams of the housebuilders.
“Residents were mainly from the new homes in Chapel, but I have also had cases in Glossop and Buxton. This is a way for developers to make even more money and I feel it is unfair. The Prime Minister has said that there is no reason that houses should be sold as leasehold, but the government have not acted to outlaw the practice so developers are still doing this.
“Last week I pressed the government to act as soon as possible to ban the sale of leasehold houses. On Tuesday 7th November I supported a Bill by my colleague Justin Madders MP for a set formula for the cost of buying a Freehold which would give certainty and security to hundreds of leaseholders across High Peak.
“I am also gathering evidence from leaseholders to write a letter of complaint to the large companies which are taking advantage of people who simply want to own their own home.
“I would urge anyone considering buying a leasehold property to make sure that they seek independent legal advice, from a solicitor with experience of dealing with leasehold contracts.
“If you feel you have been unfairly treated in buying a house on leasehold, please let me know at Ruth.George.MP@parliament.uk or at Crowther House, The Quadrant, Buxton, SK17 6AW.”