Labour is set to force a vote on ending leaseholds after the government backtracked on its pledge to abolish them.
Last week Housing Secretary Michael Gove appeared to confirm reports he was dropping plans to scrap the leasehold system – despite describing it as a ‘outdated feudal system that needs to go’.
Now the opposition plans to force a vote on ending leaseholds, describing the watering down of rental reform plans as a ‘scandal’.
Tomorrow Labour will bring forward a vote on a motion which would call on Mr Gove to keep his promise ‘by ending the sale of new private leasehold houses, introducing a workable system to replace private leasehold flats with commonhold and enacting the Law Commission’s recommendations on enfranchisement, commonhold and the right to manage in full’.
Leaseholding gives the householder the right to live in a property for a fixed number of years, but there are increasing concerns about practices including hefty charges and a lack of transparency.
Downing Street forced Mr Gove ditch the leasehold plans because there wouldn’t be enough time to complete it before the next general election.
He wanted to replace leaseholds for flats with a ‘commonhold system’. It’s used in other countries and would let owners make joint decisions about what happens in shared areas of the building.
Currently flat owners can be left having to pay out thousands to repair common areas, even if they disagree with the work being done.
Shadow housing secretary Lisa Nandy said: ‘It is nothing short of a scandal that despite near-universal agreement that leasehold is a feudal form of tenure that should be a thing of the past, there is still no timetable for ending leasehold on new builds and introducing a workable system of commonhold to replace existing leasehold homes.
‘We cannot have more delays or broken promises because of rows within government.
‘MPs from all parties can join Labour in voting to end the leasehold system, implement the Law Commission’s recommendations in full, and deliver long-overdue justice to millions of families.’
A spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: ‘We will bring forward leasehold reforms later in this parliament, in line with our manifesto commitment.
‘As the secretary of state has made clear in the House many times, we remain determined in our promise to better protect and empower leaseholders to challenge unreasonable costs and make it easier and cheaper for them to extend their lease or buy their freehold.
‘These build on the significant improvements we have already made to the market – including ending ground rents for most new residential leases.’
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