Call to boycott new homes on Leighton estate over leasehold row

Lake View, Persimmon

Lake View, Persimmon

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A prospective new home buyer is asking locals to boycott purchasing properties on Persimmon’s Lake View development because he claims the company is profiteering.

The man, who we agreed not to name as he is in midst of negotiations with Persimmon, is furious that the firm own the freehold to the site, but are selling all the properties as leasehold.

This means the house is owned for a fixed term and the land on which the property stands is not owned outright by the purchaser who can then be charged a ground rent.

And his MP, Andrew Selous, backs his concerns and says Persimmon’s approach “stinks”.

The man, who is due to complete on his purchase in the coming week, said: “The issue is the leasehold tenure, so we are pushing to get them to convert the entire development to freehold not just our property.

“There is absolutely no reason for them to be sold as leasehold – apart from making a small fortune by selling the freehold to investment firms.

“It’s an outrageous example of a money grabbing scheme, robbing hardworking people of their money in order to line their corporate back pockets”.

He said home owners at Lake View would have to pay:

> £150 per year ground rent fees payable to Persimmon Homes or whoever buys the freehold in the future

> £131 per year service fees for the maintenance of the development’s roads and landscape.

> £50 towards the lake which, he said, would potentially benefit the entire town.

He said: “This means total annual costs of £331 per household for a property which has no need to be sold as leasehold, other than to financially benefit Persimmon.”

When the man first reserved his property he questioned the leasehold approach and says he was told it was “what most developers do now”.

However, having done some further research he added: “It now appears that there are some loopholes in legislation, which allows developers to build leasehold and sell on the freehold. In many cases this has meant the owners simply can’t afford to buy the freehold, are tied in to increased ground rent charges, and left unable to sell their homes as people won’t buy due to the ground rent.

“I want to raise awareness of this scandal and ask locals to boycott buying the homes at Lake View until Persimmon reverse their plans to sell them freehold. We hope they may do this if sales dry up.”

Mr Selous said he would be looking to raise the matter in the House of Commons next week. He said: “I feel really strongly on this and am really upset and completely agree with what he is saying.

“This stinks and I will do everything I can to shine a spotlight on this. People who want to buy a freehold should be able to do so, there is no reason they should be leasehold.

“The ground rent could increase year on year, they are trying to find another revenue stream to rip people off.

“It should be such an exciting thing when you buy a new home. It is something absolutely I will focuse on and raise with ministers. We want to make sure other developers don’t go down this route too.”

A spokesman for Persimmon Homes Midlands said: “Persimmon, together with many UK developers, sells a mixture of both leasehold and freehold properties. All flats sold in England are leasehold.

“All current Persimmon leasehold houses carry an extremely long 999 year lease and customers are informed at purchase what type of property they are buying.

“The ground rent is fixed for 10 years at £150 per annum and increases by RPI after this time periodically.”

What’s your view on the leasehold situation? Are you affected too? Email news@lbobserver.co.uk