Liverpool City Mayor Joe Anderson has taken the bold step of telling Countryside Housing that the council will no longer do business with them due to their exploitative leasehold practices.
I have spoken to, met with and helped numerous constituents living in leasehold properties built by Countryside Housing who are now trapped in their home being financially exploited by exploitative companies. Worse still some have told me that they feel they were mis-sold their property. I have been told that Countryside Housing and the ‘recommended solicitors’ they provided did not fully explain what a leasehold was or what obligations came with it during the sale.
This problem is widespread, the latest figures show that 69% of new homes built in the North West were sold as leaseholds. Many housing companies have taken advantage of leasehold agreements to boost their profits with no regard for the problems it causes for home owners down the line. I have done my very best to support constituents affected by this and fought to improve their rights in Parliament. The Labour Party is also on their side and is pushing for an inquiry into leaseholds to find out what has gone wrong and offer solutions for existing leaseholders.
I welcome any move that will prevent more home buyers from falling victim to the leasehold scandal. While there are no easy answers to this national scandal it is great to see a Labour Council taking serious action to tackle leasehold exploitation.
Sadly this move does little for existing leaseholders. I will continue working with party members, local councillors and my Parliamentary colleagues to end this blight on the UK housing market and find a solution for those already trapped in exploitative leasehold agreements.