Amongst the shock results from the snap election called by Prime Minister Theresa May, was the defeat of Tory MP and Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell. Barwell fully grasped his leasehold brief and often promised that the leasehold sector would not be forgotten. One of his key commitments was to fully fund the Leasehold Advisory Service which provides support to millions of leaseholders around the Country, so that it would cease the need for all commercial activity. It remains to be seen whether a newly appointed Housing Minister will continue in the positive steps of Mr Barwell.
While Britain faces uncertainty in the light of a hung parliament, it is unclear whether the Manifesto by both the Conservative and Labour parties will be able to deliver their promises to tackle major problems with the leasehold system.
Louie Burns, of Leasehold Solutions, said: “That while the policies of both parties are a step in the right direction, neither will bring about much-needed reforms.
He said: “It was encouraging to see that both the Conservatives and Labour were paying attention to some of the problems with leasehold, such as escalating ground rents and the sale of new-build houses as leasehold, particularly as neither party even mentioned leasehold in their 2015 manifestos.
“The Conservative Party manifesto included a commitment to ‘crack down on unfair practices in leasehold, such as escalating ground rents.’
“However, Theresa May previously stated in parliament in March that she ‘doesn’t see why’ developers are selling new-build houses as leasehold. The Tory manifesto stopped short of calling for policies to reform other aspects of the leasehold sector, such as banning the sale of new-build leasehold houses.”
He added that he believed the Labour Party manifesto went further, promising to give leaseholders “security from rip-off ground rents and end the routine use of leasehold houses in new developments.”
Leaseholders can take some reassurance from the fact that leading leasehold campaigners, Sir Peter Bottomley from the Conservative Party and Jim Fitzpatrick from the Labour Party were both re-elected.