A recent study has found that UK leaseholders are being milked for outrageous ‘permission fees’ to improve their properties.
It is no secret that leaseholders can have a difficult time when it comes to making home improvements. In order to alter the structure of their property a leaseholder needs to obtain permission from the freeholder, a process which freeholders are well within their rights to charge for.
However, according to consumer campaigning body Which?, these ‘permission fees’ are getting out of control. One homeowner wrote to Which? to complain that they had been charged £2,500 to build a conservatory (on top of the quote for the work itself), while another had been charged £300 to build a fence.
The company even spoke of homeowners having to pay as much as £108 simply to file a request.
The Home Builders Federation said: "Leasehold is in itself a secure and proven tenure that helps protect millions of homeowners.
"It works well for the vast majority of people who own their home with a lease in instances where they are interdependent and where facilities, grounds and services are shared by multiple households.”
The industry continues to work with government and other stakeholders to ensure that leasehold terms are fair and transparent, providing confidence to homebuyers and existing leaseholders alike.
Indeed, it is standard practice for leaseholders to pay service charges for common areas, as well as ground rent.
"The terms of leases should be proportionate and clearly communicated to buyers whenever they purchase a home.
"The industry continues to work with government and other stakeholders to ensure that leasehold terms are fair and transparent, providing confidence to homebuyers and existing leaseholders alike."
The government has been working to not only make it easier for leaseholders to buy their freehold, but also to improve education on how to combat unfair terms. For example, leaseholders in a block of flats can come together to form a ‘right to manage’ company if they feel that they are being treated unfairly.
Which? Money expert Gareth Shaw commented: "We look forward to seeing firm action from the government to protect homeowners."
Stephen heads the team for marketing, media and research at Plentific. He loves sharing insight and advice for the home services market. He has a keen interest in property renovations after successfully completing a number of property projects.