I was pleased to see the article on leasehold reform by Monidipa Fouzder. This area needs urgent attention, especially at a time when first-time buyers need to buy flats in a country with housing shortages.
Overcharging, ridiculous amounts of paperwork and enquiries are rife. The first-time buyers who need the most help have the roughest deal in having to deal with leasehold, getting charged higher rates of interest, and in turn higher solicitors’ fees.
Of particular concern, I have noticed recently, are freeholds being retained by developers for their future pension schemes and short leases that will need extending at 85 years.
These practices seem to specialise purely in frightening money out of clueless leaseholders – spurious summons; a landlord asking £1,000 for consent to allow a dog and £3,500 on his account for future painting he didn’t know when was going to happen and from which my selling client would not benefit; and £1,200 for a lease extension which took the solicitor about one hour to conclude.
We all have a duty to bring things back in line but we need an enforcer; the lack of one is allowing these people to get away with practices which do nothing for our image.
Some of us are guilty of dreaming these ideas up in the first place, and advising landlords and developers of how they can get away with these schemes.
Sean Crean, Creans Solicitors, Felixstowe