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Council wants house builders to abandon leasehold sales


COUNCIL chiefs at Warrington are planning to meet with house builders operating in the borough seeking their commitment to abandoning leasehold sales.
They also want them to provide restitution to homeowners already affected by the “leasehold scandal.”
Council leader Russ Bowden has written to other council leaders across the North West calling for joint action to persuade the Government to end leasehold practice and made redress for past victims.
He said: “We should ensure that developers are aware of our stance and refuse to work in partnership with those that continue to sell new-build properties on a leasehold basis.”
Cllr Bowden says one possibility is to explore whether the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, or other related consumer protection laws, can be brought to bear on those companies that have wilfully mis-sold properties.
But he has told other council chiefs: “Such actions, however, are far more effective when brought forward by a broad alliance.”
He wants to establish whether there is an appetite among neighbouring local authorities to share resources to support affected tenants and where necessary to explore and co-ordinate possible actions against offending housebuilders.
Thousands of people who bought their homes leasehold have found themselves suffering escalating ground rents, disproportionate management fees and unreasonable restrictive covenants which have left them trapped in increasingly costly housing they cannot sell.
While the Government has condemned this practice and the Competition and Markets Authority has launched an investigation in possible mis-selling, to date there has been little practical assistance offered to existing residents affected by such leaseholds.
Almost a year ago, Warrington submitted a motion on the “leasehold scandal” to the Government.
But the Government has not yet responded, nor a letter to the Secretary of State.
Cllr Bowden added: ”There are no signs of any Government proposals for leasehold reform, leaving the victims to continue suffering the impact of extortionate leasehold, ground-rent and estate management arrangements.”


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