HomeOwners Alliance blasted for ‘leasehold scaremongering’

Conveyancers have blasted claims from the HomeOwners Alliance that leaseholders aren’t the legal owners of their own property.

The Conveyancing Association has criticised a report from the campaign group on leasehold, released earlier this week, that claimed leaseholders were “little more than tenants in the eyes of the law”.

The HomeOwners Alliance was accused of scaremongering.

Beth Rudolph, director of delivery at the CA, said: “While we congratulate the HomeOwners Alliance on its leasehold report, we would not want to see unnecessary concern amongst leaseholders that they do not own their property in ‘the eyes of the law’ as the report suggests.

“This is clearly not correct and leaseholders should know they have complete security so long as they comply with the terms of the lease. Plus, it should also be clear that there are mechanisms enabling them to extend their lease when required, albeit at extra cost.

“We are concerned that the implication that leaseholders are not legal owners could be considered scaremongering, which we do not support in any way.

“However, we can see that this approach has brought the report to the attention of the mainstream media and the more people who are aware of the importance of obtaining all necessary information prior to buying a leasehold property, the better educated home buyers will be.”

That is not the only error the HomeOwners Alliance has made this week.

The organisation sent out a statement yesterday morning to coincide with the launch of a new savings product called a Lifetime Isa (Lisa). This lets first-time buyers save for a mortgage deposit tax-free, similar to the Help to Buy Isa.

Chief executive Paula Higgins was initially quoted as saying the Lisa was welcome but claimed there was a problem as the money saved could only be used at completion.

The group had to reissue a different statement after EYE pointed out that this is a concern with the Help to Buy Isa, but the Government has stipulated that the Lisa funds can be used for the deposit at the exchange state of the transaction.

A later statement by the HomeOwners Alliance reflected this, and hopefully enough reporters took notice.

x

Email the story to a friend

14 Comments

  1. Chris Wood

    Well done Ed’.

    Report
    1. cattwil37

      I am a new build house leaseholder and I welcome the report from the Homeowners Alliance. Although I cannot comment on the legal position related to owning or renting my house, I can comment upon how vulnerable I feel “owning” a Leasehold house. If as the knowledgeable comments here suggest I actually do own my house , why are there clauses in the lease such as “…that if any sums payable hereunder shall at any time be  in arrear or unpaid for 21 days after the same…,or if the buyer shall at any time fail or neglect to perform or observe any of the covenants….then it shall be lawful for the Company (freeholder) to re-enter upon the property ….and peaceably hold and enjoy the property thereafter as if this lease had not been granted….”? In addition the Company is often referred to as “the Landlord” which by definition makes me a “tenant”-is that not correct ?How many house owners live with the threat of some complete stranger walking in and taking their property from them because they have a satellite dish on the front wall?!!! So..despite the fact that legally I am considered a home owner …I really do not feel like one. Thank you for reading my post. 

      Report
    2. Kjk86

      I feel as a leaseholder we are in a very vulnerable position. Unless we have thousands of pounds to either challenge the rich freeholders or thousands to challenge them through the legal process that apparently “protects us” we have very little power. In my lease it states the freeholder can give me 14 days notice to enter my propery. That doesn’t sound like I own by home. Despite what the legal definition is. In reality leaseholders are simply tenants for the duration of the lease. After which time we walk away. In the lease it even refers to us as tenants and the freeholder as the landlord. 
      I am actually thankfully for today’s article. It does highlight how leaseholders are vulnerable. It’s not about scaring leaseholders but it’s about informing them what many of them have no idea of and that is the #leaseholdscandal.
       
      We have been miss sold out homes. Vital information was with held from us when we bought our houses. Conveyancing solicitors never highlighted anything to leaseholders. 
      This is not a new phenomenon. And I don’t feel sorry for the conveyancing solicitors. They have a duty of care to keep up to date with current practice. This happens often in medicine. There is no excuse. They missed this coming and leaseholders are not standing for this any longer!

      Report
  2. Rob Hailstone

    A few comments from Bold Legal Group members:

     
    We deal with a lot of leasehold property and I do think it is a real issue and I broadly agree with the conclusions of the report, and its recommendations.

    We do advise potential purchasers carefully regarding the implications of buying a leasehold property, but I am not sure that many of them take that advice on board when taken up with the excitement of buying a new home. I would support a campaign to highlight these issues.

     

    In my area – North West – I would say that 50% of titles are long leasehold.

    My initial letter to clients upon receipt of a draft contract states “The property is freehold/leasehold for (999) years subject to a ground rent of £X” To every client. If it is 90 years or less I explain about future problems with lenders etc.

    If it is a modern building company lease I provide a copy and draw the buyer’s attention to the covenants contained in it.

    I agree with each of the points mentioned except perhaps number 5 as I have yet to see a commonhold title and I hope to retire before they become popular!

     

    What a piece of sensationalist  journalistic misinformation. Some of it is fair but a lot is spreading fear ‘you don’t really own your home in law if you have a lease’ what total rubbish. It is true that the sector needs a shape up though. But someone needs to point out that you can’t have freehold flats, that commonhold is a mess (I used to lecture on it) and that you need controls over what people do with their leasehold properties to stop nuisance, structural problems etc.

     

     
    This claim that the owner of a long lease is not really a homeowner is absurd.

    Report
  3. Rent Rebel

    A lease is just a license to occupy. The conveyancing profession needs to hang its head in shame over the scandal that is leasehold houses.

    Report
  4. LeaseholdNightmare38

    “Scaremongering”? Are you kidding me?

    We are now a stuck with a house worth significantly less than what we bought it for that right now we can’t sell.

    We are stuck with onerous terms in our lease, the solicitors incorrectly advised us on the terms IN that lease and the sales agents of the developer we bought our house off left out important details of these leases and with regards to some of the facts outright lied to us.

    I bet the people defending this mess don’t live in leashold homes.

    Report
    1. PeeBee

      “We are now a stuck with a house worth significantly less than what we bought it for that right now we can’t sell.”

      This one sentence alone raises a multitude of questions.

      Is the poster still here?

      Report
  5. jodarbyshire42

    There is no scaremongering here, just a large number of ordinary working people who have not been well advised by the conveyancing profession and as a result are financially and emotionally poorer.  I am a “tenant” paying a huge mortgage for a property I don’t own and that has had thousands wiped off the value thanks to my developer selling the freehold on to greedy investors.  Don’t misunderstand me, unlike many developers I’m not blaming conveyance solicitors, the developers are to blame for this mess.

    This is an absolute scandal and if your organisation and sector are professional you would admit the shortcomings, help us to fight for what is right, and vow to ensure that all professional conveyance solicitors are fully trained on the issues surrounding leasehold properties so that they can stop others being trapped in the same nightmare that we are in.

    Report
  6. mph59760

    It is time for the property industry to wake up and support a wholesale move away from this medieval feudal form of tenure. The current state of the law is not sufficient to protect leasehold tenants from the predatory actions of abusive freeholders. In the National Leasehold Survey 2016 57% of respondents stated that they regretted buying a leasehold property – that says it all really!

    Report
  7. RadcliffeRed81

    Whilst Beth may consider this scaremongering I can assure her thousands of ‘tenants’ consider this fact. We are now trapped in homes that nobody wishes to buy whilst corporate investors dictate what we can and can’t do with our properties. This is an absolute scandal. One can assume that the tone of this response reflects the pressure that the media attention is putting on those concerned with the whole industry, Beth included. Both the developers and conveyancers have serious questions to answer and the time will come when they have to answer.

    Report
  8. reeny010205

    Scaremongering???? The truth of the matter is myself and my family are now stuck in a house now too small for us as we can’t sell it on due to the lease!!

    With the doubling lease we have nothing to leave to our children other than a massive weight around their necks!!!

    so scaremongering I think not …. we are real people affected by this

    Report
  9. jwillrob35

    This article is mean and nasty just like the coveyancers who feel it’s ok to just skim over contracts and decide what homeowners need to and need not to know. If you were stuck in this situation you would understand. Most of us knew nothing of the small print I for one was told that the boys relating to you have been circled in pencil. Well because of that I’m now stuck in a situation I’m not sure how I’m going to get out of. Conveyancers we are your clients it is your job to protect us from these ridiculous money making schemes and you have not. You are complicit with this scam! I hope that your profession is made to take a long hard look at it self.

    How about thanking us for bringing it to your attention because now you should be advising your clients not to go through with these types of purchases.

    Report
  10. Londonist40

    The Conveyancing Association  criticisms are ridiculous. How can you justify this misery inflicted on homeowners through Leasehold.
    Beth Rudolph should step down. If she doesn’t know the asymmetry of power stacked against and why Scotland and others have abolished leasehold what is she not qualified for her job.
    Forfeiture, unfair terms, no recourse to law when freeholders, managing agents and surveyors are committing fraud. No wonder she likes the status quo. How often do surveyors over specify works to gain more money and pay backhanders etc to freeholders. Leasehold is feudal and should be abolished.

    Report
  11. llb51

    What a ridiculous article, Beth your fellow colleagues have been paid to look after our interest and they have not !!  And yet you have sympathy for these solicitors, what about all us hardworking families that are out of our minds with worry , what are we to do with these leases with onerous clauses , we can not sell , we can buy our freeholds, we can not pay the extortionate ground rents. I feel in total despair , but let’s have sympathy for these professional solicitors that did not do their job properly. Ridiculous

    Report
X

You must be logged in to report this comment!

Leave a reply

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.