Conservative MP Eddie Hughes yesterday successfully introduced a bill into parliament that will see the UK’s system of leasehold ground rents overhauled and some 100,000 trapped owners freed to sell their homes.
Introduced via a Ten Minute Rule Motion, Hughes’ Ground Rent Leasehold Properties Bill passed its first reading and will now attempt to make it through a second reading today.
The Bill has a good chance of becoming law; it is supported by Housing Minister Heather Wheeler, who was in parliament to hear Hughes propose the legislation.
Measures within the bill will include a cap on ground rents and to make property developers liable for the legal costs of leaseholders seeking to vary their contracts.
“Tens of thousands of people across the country are in this position. And it’s simply not the right.”
Both issues have been massive bones of contention for campaigners, who claim many landlords use clauses allowing doubling ground rents and variation charges to extract exorbitant fees from leaseholders.
These in turn often mean mortgage companies will not grant loans to buyers, leaving their owners trapped.
During his speech Hughes documented the practical problems this has for many leaseholders: “Imagine for a moment you own a lovely apartment with your family, or perhaps even a recently built house and have lived there quite happily for a few years,” he said.
“But you decide it’s time to move, maybe because of schools or work, or to move up the property ladder. You’re primed and ready to go. But the estate agent asks for a copy of your leasehold agreement, and there in its footnotes, you get hit with the fact you cannot sell your property, you’re trapped.
Hughes will be helped by several MPs to draft the bill including Hunters’ Chairman Kevin Hollinrake.