HQN Leasehold Network News
Leasehold Network Lead Associate Richard Waft, as well as other associates for the Leasehold Network, regularly find and outline the big news stories for members, while providing their own analysis and comments.
For more expert analysis, briefings and best practice for everyone working with leaseholders in social housing and wanting to improve service delivery, be sure to join The Leasehold Network. You can find out more here.
Week commencing 1 April 2019
Leasehold Legal – March 2019 – Richard Waft
The latest legal news of interest to leasehold teams, with commentary from Leasehold Network Lead Associate Richard Waft has been published. Members can download a full copy of this document here.
31% of ALMO Right to Buy stock not replaced in 2018
The latest National Federation of ALMOs annual report has shown the sector is still struggling with replacing stock sold through the Right to Buy.
Week commencing 25 March 2019
A government-backed pledge which commits freeholders, developers, conveyancers and managing agents to taking concrete steps to help leaseholders who are stuck in unfair deals.
James Brokenshire announces industry pledge to crack down on toxic leasehold deals
A new industry pledge to stop leaseholders being trapped in unfair and costly deals has been unveiled by the Communities Secretary, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP. More than 40 leading property developers and freeholders have already signed the government-backed pledge.
Week commencing 18 March 2019
Leasehold Technical Talk – March 2019 – Richard Waft
Leasehold Network Lead Associate Richard Waft looks over some of the key news stories from the past month pertaining to leasehold and analyses what they could mean for the sector. Members can download the full technical talk document here.
MPs urge social landlords to draft a code of conduct to protect leaseholders
The government has been urged to introduce a code of practice for local authorities and housing associations that outlines their responsibilities to leaseholders living in social housing blocks, in a bid to crack down on unfair charges.
A report published by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has called for wide-ranging reforms to the leasehold system amid concerns that homeowners are being badly treated across both the private and public sectors.
This includes the creation of a code of practice for social housing landlords, which would contain guidance on best practice for carrying out and charging major works on leasehold homes.
Read more… (registration required)
The House of Commons Committee report with recommendations has been sent to the Government, the Competition and Markets Authority and the Law Commission, who all have two months to respond.
Spring Statement impact – New £3bn Affordable Homes Guarantee scheme announced in Spring Statement
Chancellor Philip Hammond has used his Spring Statement to announce a new £3bn Affordable Homes Guarantee scheme. Hammond told the Commons the scheme would support delivery of around 30,000 affordable homes.
Further, some £717m from the Housing Infrastructure Fund will unlock up to 37,000 new homes on sites in West London, Cheshire, Didcot, and Cambridge.
Also announced were measures to help developers future-proof new build homes to meet low carbon heating and a Call for Evidence on an SME energy efficiency scheme.
Home sales – Number of unsold housing association homes rises by 18%
The number of unsold English housing association homes has risen by 18% to more than 7,000, according to figures from the Regulator of Social Housing.
Taking into account shared ownership and outright market sale, the number of unsold homes rose to 7,193 at the end of December last year, the latest quarterly survey from the English regulator revealed.
Read more… (registration required)
Guide for landlords: Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018
The Act came into force on 20 March 2019. It is designed to ensure that all rented accommodation is fit for human habitation and to strengthen tenants’ means of redress against the minority of landlords who do not fulfil their legal obligations to keep their properties safe.
Commons committee states that flawed system leaves leaseholders at risk of exploitation by developers, freeholders and managing agents.
The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has called for wide ranging reforms to the leasehold system in a new report. The committee finds that the balance of power in existing leases, legislation and public policy is too heavily weighted against leaseholders.
A round-up of the key recommendations in the report has been made by 24 Housing here.
Week commencing 11 March 2019 – update
Right to Buy homes re-sold since 2000 made £6.4bn in profit
A former council tenant bought their home under Right to Buy for £8,000 and sold it on for £285,000 nine days later – a £277,000 profit, the BBC found.
Spring Statement 2019
There weren’t any significant announcements relating to the housing sector during Wednesday’s Spring Statement, which was largely overshadowed by the Brexit deadlock. Among the housing related announcements was a consultation on Infrastructure Finance and a guarantee up to £3bn of borrowing by housing associations in England to build new homes. Encouragingly, there was quite a bit on climate change however, announcing initiatives to ensure new infrastructure projects and homes will have a reduced carbon footprint, and will not threaten biodiversity.
Read a full summary of announcements here.
Labour would force UK landlords to offer indefinite tenancies
The plan, announced by the shadow housing secretary, John Healey, would seek to protect tenants from arbitrary eviction without having to give a reason. In contrast in Germany, landlords are only allowed to evict tenants for reasons such as failure to pay rent or committing an offence in the property.
Private flat owners start campaign over Grenfell-style cladding
Homeowners want freeholders to pay costs of removing fire-risk cladding from tower blocks.
Leasehold first-time buyers: ‘We’re trapped in our own house’
Ashleigh Wilson, who’s 27, thought she’d achieved that dream when she bought a place in Knowsley, Merseyside, four years ago. Four years on, she’s in a home no-one will buy because of the strict rules on her lease – which charge her fees and stop her changing her floor tiles.
‘We were sold retirement homes we can’t live in all year round’
Retirees are facing eviction after buying holiday homes mistakenly believing they were permanent properties, according to MPs.