April 28, 2017

Meeting with shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds

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Shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds

Shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds

Carlex / LKP met shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds yesterday to discuss problems in the leasehold sector.

The meeting was organised by Jim Fitzpatrick, the Labour MP for Poplar and Limehouse, who has some of the richest and poorest leaseholders in the country in his constituency. He has become a firm stalwart in fighting for leaseholders.

Reynolds, 36, is a Labour high-flier representing Wolverhampton North West, who once worked as a lobbyist in Brussels. She took over as shadow housing minister from Jack Dromey in the autumn.

LKP / Carlex found her sharp and curious … with commendable BS antennae when it came to special pleading by the commercially interested.

Coincidentally, she earlier met McCarthy and Stone, which is one of the promoters of the ill-conceived Campaign for Housing in Later Life.

This campaign, backed by the Home Builders’ Federation, has so far lost two of its sponsors since Carlex began inquiries: Shelter quit last week, and Peverel was dumped last Friday owing to the Cirrus collusive tendering scandal.

Esther Rantzen, who is fronting the campaign and was contacted by us, has asked for and received, an explanation from Carlex why it is critical of the retirement housing sector.

Jim Fitzpatrick: fighting of leaseholders in east London

Jim Fitzpatrick MP: fighting of leaseholders in east London

Carlex / LKP gave Reynolds its view of the leasehold sector and its well attested flaws.

Labour politicians are quick to see in leasehold an echo of historic landlordism, and note that it has long since been removed from ALL other English-speaking jurisdictions. Indeed, it does not exist anywhere outside England and Wales.

Several individual cases of leasehold system-playing were discussed. Some of these are on the websites

Reynolds was frank that her priority is to increase housing supply, which is what all political parties are seeking to do.

That is quite understandably the overriding priority. But Reynolds was not deaf to the issues of leasehold, which affect young and old homeowners, as well as rich and poor.

It is the middle living in the shires who are least affected by leasehold.

The Campaign for Housing in Later Life – and house building generally – urges quicker and less onerous planning decisions.

LKP / Carlex well understands the frustrations of planning for house builders, although these are by no means unique to retirement house builders.

Sebastian O’Kelly has publicly written in support of strategic planning and was a lone voice at the Daily Mail group writing in support of John Prescott.

He has argued the case for urgent strategic planning in the South East, and said that housing must be built on – some of – the green belt.

“But planning is not the main problem in retirement housing; confidence is.

“Every week Carlex is contacted by would-be buyers or their families asking about retirement housing decisions.

“They are desperate for housing of this type, but are not willing to pay over the odds for an asset that immediately plummets in value and be prey to predatory property management.

“All the main commercial house builders (and housing association builders) are, for the moment, owning the freeholds and managing their own sites. But this is a recent practice, as most sold their freeholds in the boom years.

“At present, complaints to Carlex about their management are relatively few. But they might become predatory, or the freeholds – a cherry on the cake for developers – may be flogged off to aggressive monetisers.

“Yes, residents should be offered the freehold to buy, but that is easily worked around.”

The retirement house builders claim Carlex exaggerates and is out of date.

But it is not us who are running a campaign where the sponsorship logos are falling off like lose tiles.

Comments

  1. Yes, it goes without saying, the Tory party will never support abolishing leasehold tenure. Too much in it for their members.

    • Fleeced, you may not be totally right on this occasion. The Tory party introduced the first Commonhold bill in 1996 it did not get through parliament before the 1997 election. No party is looking to remove leasehold on historic sites but for the future who knows.

      As they say watch this space for news on Commonhold.

  2. M. Epstein says:

    At some stage, political parties are going to cotton on to the idea, that instead of leaseholders money being unfairly salted away to a tax free offshore account , when a fairer sysem is introduced, that money could be spent by said leaseholders, thus boosting the local economy and raising extra tax.

  3. A Reviewer says:

    Hi all

    MONEY is the problem – then banks have got too much “spare cash”.

    Money not invested is a LIABILITY – NOT an asset – it just degrades and devalues on its own.

    The cost of housing bears little relation to its value. Construction is getting cheaper and cheaper using timber framed buildings the life of which in my view is unlikely to exceed a hundred years.

    Housing is built increasingly on “borrowed money”. The investor needs an “income stream”.

    What is need is some mutual societies. The “greed” of the last two decades has seen the departure of the majority of building societies who were acquired and asset stripped by banks with failing balance sheets.

    Now the youngsters have no chance of buying – so rents have gone bonkers – especially in London

    Whats next ?

    Another MEGA Property Collapse ?

    Simply put: the whole fiscal hierarchy is dodgy …. QUESTION: World debt exceeds world assets – Explain

    Happy days

  4. Ms Emma Reynolds studied at Oxford University taking a course covering Philosphy, Politics and Economics. What she learnt studying Politics has help her to progress to become MP and a shadow minister.

    Can Emma use her study in economics to ask the Housing Minister to justify the continued use of leasehold title as economically benefiting the country ? . Only England and Wales have kept the Leasehold system whilst rest of Europe including Scotland and Ireland have stopped using leasehold tenure.

  5. Can Carlex contact the top 20 UK Economists to justify if the Leasehold Property tenure system really benefits this country and ask Emma Reynolds to ask the Housing Minister to justify the same ?

    Obviously if it does not benefit the consumers, the Government must make change to stop builders offering leasehold property.