Estate agents who have acted on behalf of developers in selling new-builds could be drawn into a redress scheme for mis-sold leaseholds, it has been claimed.
Louie Burns, managing director of Leasehold Solutions, which helps home owners extend or purchase their leases, says he is helping compile evidence showing that sales agents on new developments told buyers they could buy their lease, which later turned out not to be the case.
He said: “Virtually all buyers were promised once they have owned a flat for two years that they would be able to buy their freehold for a few thousand pounds.
“That stopped leaseholders from looking deeply into the lease.
“Some put money aside to buy the freehold but they were then sold to ground rent investors with the owners never being told about it.”
Burns said most of the claims are oral, so there is nothing in writing to prove the claims, but he hopes if there are enough people highlighting the same issue then litigation could be brought.
He said: “We are in the process of getting written statements showing what sales agents told a buyer.
“There are tens of thousands of people who will attest to this. If an agent gave that advice purposefully they could be held responsible.
“We are taking counsel advice on whether thousands of written statements to say ‘this was said to me’ would be enough for litigation.”
Burns added that developers are “morally responsible” for turning leaseholds into an asset and for creating leases with onerous terms, while conveyancing solicitors have “legal culpability”.
It comes after Labour MP Justin Madders successfully presented a Bill to Parliament that could see a redress scheme set up for home owners stuck with unfair leasehold as well as a statutory calculation for those wanting to extend or buy their lease.