Disgruntled leaseholders are putting together cases to report developers to Trading Standards for failing to make clear that they were being sold leaseholds.
A spokesman for campaign group the National Leasehold Campaign told EYE that activists are hoping to emulate the success of home owners on a Persimmon estate in Cardiff who convinced the developer to give them the freeholds amid the threat of legal action for mis-selling from Trading Standards.
The spokesman said: “There are lots of groups now forming on the back of the Persimmon finding, and trying to take cases via Trading Standards.”
It comes as a survey of 1,500 leaseholders by NLC found 89% said they were not informed of the difference between freehold and leasehold by their solicitor and 91% were not informed about the contractual obligations of estate rent charges or maintenance fees.
More than four out five home-owners (84%) were not told that the freehold could be sold on to a third-party investor, while 80% said they were not informed about the legal right to enfranchise.
Meanwhile, 39% revealed they were offered incentives to use the developer’s recommended solicitor and 87% either did not know or could not remember receiving information on their solicitors’ complaints procedure.
Cath Williams, co-founder of the NLC, said: “For far too long leaseholders have been told that it is their own fault for signing these toxic agreements, but this report shows how little information they were actually given, meaning they were not able to make an informed choice when deciding to buy or not.
“The acid test has to be that almost all would not buy their property again on the same basis.”
The findings will be sent to the Competition and Markets Authority as part of its review into the leasehold sector.