New homes leasehold “scandal” cannot be stopped by council

Housing developers in Barnsley will be “discouraged” from selling new houses on a leasehold arrangement, which has been described as a “scandal” by one councillor.

Monday, 11th February 2019, 10:00 am
Updated Monday, 11th February 2019, 10:03 am
Coun Hannah Kitching

Local authorities have no legal powers to stop developers selling new homes on lease agreements rather than the traditional freehold, where the buyer acquires full rights to the land their home is constructed on.

It means they have to pay an annual ground rent, which can increase, and seek permission and pay fees to make changes to the property they own.

Coun Hannah Kitching, who represents the Penistone West ward on Barnsley Council has dealt with residents who have been unhappy after being leasehold houses and said the practice was a “scandal”.

She is concerned that more could be affected in future as many new sites are opened up to new housing in the years ahead, under the council’s newly adopted Local Plan.

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Coun Kitching raised the issue at a full meeting of Barnsley Council and council leader Sir Steve Houghton said: “We are happy to talk to developers and discourage developers from doing it.

“Unfortunately, the council has no legal powers to intervene.

“We would obviously support a change in the law, if that came, to prevent potential customers from getting into the position many have already done,” he said.