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Freeholders slammed by former Tory housing minister

Former housing minister Rachel Maclean - the victim of a shock sacking by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last month - has slammed :”unethical behaviour” by some freeholders.

Speaking during a Commons debate on the government’s Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill - on which she worked prior to her dismissal - Maclean said: ““I was shocked by how leaseholders have been treated and how their lives have been blighted by this scandal which I know has blighted the lives of people in [my constituency of] Redditch.

“I’m proud to have worked on this Bill which will restore true home ownership to millions, end rip-off charges and introduce fairness to the leasehold market.


“We got here because of the greed and unethical behaviour of predatory freeholders who have treated leasehold properties as a cash cow and the leaseholders as a milking machine to produce an endless stream of income for no work at all. It is the ultimate definition of rent-seeking behaviour in its worst excesses.”

The Bill, introduced to Parliament last week, will make it easier and cheaper for leaseholders to buy their freehold, increase standard lease extension terms to 990 years for houses and flats, and provide greater transparency over service charges. 

The Bill will also rebalance the legal costs regime and remove barriers for leaseholders to challenge their landlords’ unreasonable charges at Tribunal. 

The new powers will also help more leaseholders take over the management of their property if they wish to, instead of being stuck with the freeholder’s management choice, and we will make this process cheaper for leaseholders.  

The government will also bring forward further reforms which will extend access to redress schemes and make it easier and cheaper to get the information needed to sell a leasehold home. And the government will also replace buildings insurance commissions for managing agents, landlords and freeholders with transparent administration fees, stopping leaseholders from being charged exorbitant commissions on top of their premiums.

Maclean’s former boss - Housing Secretary Michael Gove - says of the Bill: “[It is] a landmark moment for millions of leaseholders across the country, as we unveil laws to deliver significant new rights and protections, slash unfair costs and crack down on exploitation.

“The Bill addresses one of the longest-term challenges that the country faces - fairness in the housing market. The measures in the Bill will put the country on the right path for the future by addressing the historic imbalances between leaseholder and freeholder to give homeowners a fairer deal, greater protections, and more rights.”


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