LABOUR chiefs in Worcester have launched a probe into the ‘rip-off’ leasehold charges which the party say apply to nearly all apartment blocks and new developments in the city are leasehold.
Local councillors are concerned homeowners are locked into contracts which force them to ask permission for basic improvements and make them pay extortionate ground rent and service charges.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have been investigating leaseholds and they published their initial report last Friday (February 28) and found evidence of numerous concerns on ground rents, the cost of the freehold, misleading information and unreasonable fees.
Coun Lynn Denham, who represents the Cathedral ward on Worcester City Council has spoken to residents in Diglis Water.
“People are confused by the complex legal arrangements between the developer, the leaseholder, the property management company and themselves,” she said.
“Many are not clear what they are being charged for and where their money goes. It is difficult to know who is responsible for which maintenance issues and residents are frustrated that they can’t get the local improvements they want.
“I would encourage any residents affected by any of these issues to please get in touch,” Coun Denham added.
John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, responding to the Competition and Markets Authority investigation into leasehold housing, said: “Labour and leasehold campaigners forced this investigation last year and it confirms the scale of the problems with leasehold mis-selling.
“Ministers should legislate to stop the sale of new leasehold homes, and end the unfair fees and contract terms that existing leasehold home-owners face. There’s nothing in the Government’s legislative programme to help hard-hit leaseholders.”