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19 September, 2018

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Weaver Vale MP speaks up about problems with leasehold agreements

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Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury has spoken up about problems with leasehold agreements, where someone buys their property but not the land it’s built on.

This, it’s claimed, leaves them trapped with spiralling ground rents or facing exorbitant buy out costs further down the line.

Mr Amesbury fears the government is attempting to kick ‘into the long grass’ proposed help for those affected by the issue.

The Weaver Vale MP has been a longstanding opponent of the practice, and says many of his constituents have contacted him for help on the issue.

Mr Amesbury has previously raised it on a number of occasions in parliament, directly with ministers and also at public meetings with residents.

The government conducted a consultation last year and pledged to tackle the practice, which former communities secretary Sajid Javid branded ‘feudal’, however Mr Amesbury is concerned that so far no firm commitments have been forthcoming.

This week in his role on the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, Mike pressed new housing and communities secretary James Brokenshire to provide a specific timescale on the government plans.

Mr Brokenshire replied: “I’ve stated that we’ll be consulting over the summer about how we ban new leaseholds and restrict ground rents.”

He also said the government was awaiting input from the Law Commission which would be available ‘later this year’.

Speaking outside the chamber, Mike commented: “There’s a lot of talk at the moment but few details, I do genuinely fear that the government is trying to kick this into the long grass.”

The Cheshire MP added: “I’ve been contacted by many constituents over this issue, unable to sell their homes and also unable to have that added security of knowing they can buy the land and not simply be expected to pay rents which are just going to go up and up.

“I’ll continue working with MPs from all parties to fight this deeply unjust practice.”

The National Leasehold Campaign (NLC) is holding a peaceful demonstration on Wednesday 18th July outside Westminster.

Katie Kendrick, from campaign, said moves to help future leaseholders shouldn’t mean those already trapped in existing arrangements aren’t forgotten.

She said: “Our homes should be our safe haven but instead for many it has turned into a living nightmare.

“Developers and freeholders should be held to account for this mess and we urge the government to launch an inquiry.

“I appreciate retrospective action is difficult but not impossible and definitely should not be ruled out.”

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