Kate has welcomed new Labour Party plans to bring justice to local residents affected by the leasehold scandal.
A Labour report, released this week, includes proposals to cap unfair costs such as ground rents, which could save local leaseholders thousands of pounds.
Leasehold ownership means homes are bought but leased rather than entirely owned, with leaseholders often paying a ‘ground rent’ as well as service charges to the property freeholder, or to a managing agent acting on their behalf.
Homeowners who purchased the leasehold of their property are often locked into contracts which force them to seek permission to make basic alterations or to build extensions such as conservatories, despite no planning permission being required.
New figures show an estimated 45 per cent of homes in Kate’s Stretford and Urmston constituency were sold as leasehold last year. This makes Stretford and Urmston one of the highest constituencies for leasehold sales in the country.
Reforms to leasehold promised by the government have still not been implemented, two years after they were first proposed.
Labour’s plans include a ban on the sale of new leasehold houses and flats. Under Labour, leaseholders will be able to buy the full, freehold ownership of their home for 1% of the property value, with ground rents in existing leaseholds capped at 0.1% of the property value, up to a maximum of £250 a year.
The report also renews Labour’s calls for a full public inquiry into mis-selling in the leasehold market which saw thousands of properties sold with extortionate terms such as doubling ground rents, making them unsellable.
Kate said: “It’s utterly outrageous that local families who’ve worked hard and saved up to buy their homes are being ripped off.
“Far too many local people have been in touch with me about problems they’ve had with their leaseholds – from rip-off ground rents to ridiculous contract conditions imposed on them by the big housebuilders. It’s just not on.
“The Tories have made many empty promises to help leaseholders, but we’ve seen no action. Only a Labour government will give leaseholders the rights to a home of their own.”
Sarah Jones MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister said, “Leaseholders have everything stacked against them. Too often they suffer extortionate fees, appalling service and restrictive contract terms, and no way to easily challenge them.
“England is one of the only places in the world which has failed to move away from this feudal system. Across the world, modern alternatives like commonhold have flourished.
“Labour will improve and revitalise commonhold for flats, and make freehold mandatory for all new houses, as the Conservatives should have done years ago.”
Labour’s report can be viewed in full online here.