Leasehold properties in Medway hit 17,000 – how many could be affected by the ground rent scandal?

There have been several news updates about the leasehold scandal but it seems there’s still no resolution for a lot of people stuck with spiralling ground rents. Recently I’ve heard more unbelievable stories about leasehold home owners being charged exorbitant amounts to even make changes to their properties. Reports of people paying £252 just to have a pet, or £60 to change their doorbell, are smaller examples. But there are many cases where the rents, fees and charges associated with leasehold are simply shocking.

To recap, from what I understand there are several issues that leasehold owners face:

  • Ground rents are not limited and can rise at any time. The freeholder can sell the land on (often without warning) at any time, and subsequently the new owner may raise ground rents.
  • Selling is a problem as a result. Particularly where leasehold clauses double ground rent every 10 years.
  • Despite owning the property, the leaseholder could be evicted if they don’t pay their ground rent.
  • Leasehold is not limited to flats. Lots of homeowners are affected.

So what does this mean for the Medway property market? Well in my last post, the data from Land registry gave us figures of around 9,250 leasehold properties in Medway. But Kent Online recently published data that indicate the estimated number of leasehold properties in Medway is at 17,165. And what’s really interesting about that number is that it doesn’t include leasehold houses, which I suspect would make this number even higher given the number of new developments in Medway.

Kent County Council’s housing stock statistics from March last year, indicated that there were a total of 114,060 properties in Medway. Which would mean that 15% are in fact leasehold. How many of those are affected by the rising ground rent scandal is not know. But Kent-wide, it is estimated that 122,000 people are trapped in controversial property management contracts. The Leasehold Advisory Service were quoted as having had 401 enquiries from leaseholders in Kent in the last 12 months.

So what now for leaseholders? Well the Law Commission outlined plans to review the leasehold market in a document release in April. However, feedback about this action was far from positive. Leading leasehold reform campaigner Louie Burns, said, “in reality it will be several years before the Law Commission’s report is published, and even longer until the government is in a position to propose legislation to tackle the many problems with the leasehold system.”

I’d really like to hear from people in the area that have been affected by this to gauge the impact to our communities and the local market. You can get in touch with me by email at hasan@home-share.co.uk , or on LinkedIn or Facebook.

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