But which are the housing associations that bought rip-off doubling ground rent freeholds?
CMA turns its attention to the freehold owning outfits of Vincent Tchenguiz and Will Astor
Fifteen punters who bought freeholds with 10 or 15-year doubling ground rents from Countryside Properties plc must re-set annual charge to what it was when buyers first bought the lease, the Competition and Markets Authority announced today.
The move will benefit more than 3,400 leaseholders and the CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli says more housing developers are “to be put under the microscope as the investigation continues”.
Like a player of the board game Monopoly who gets the dice wrong and blurts “Rent!”, leasehold operator Pier Management – owned by Essex millionaires Nicholas and Peter Gould – and debt collector JB Leitch have messed up a demand for unpaid ground rent.
This means the £3,265 of fees that they piled on to the £600 ground rent debt are scrapped. Indeed, JB Leitch, which appears to be remunerated by the debtor rather than by its nominal employers (and who will enforce the legal fees via the lease), walks away with nothing.
Government building safety tsar Dame Judith Hackitt, a former chair of the Health and Safety Executive, speaks to BBC Newsnight in June 2021
By Harry Scoffin
Government ministers seem set to scrap the controversial recommendation that all leasehold buildings of more than seven stories have a building safety manager (in addition to their managing agents), according to The Daily Telegraph.
The proposal came from Dame Judith Hackitt, a former chair of the Health and Safety Executive, who was tasked to examine residential building safety after the Grenfell fire.
Levelling Up select committee chair Clive Betts has co-authored a series of authoritative reports on the leasehold scandal and building safety crisis
By Harry Scoffin
Last week, the Levelling Up select committee in the House of Commons published a highly critical report into Michael Gove’s January 10 cladding pronouncements and the raft of new policies that followed.
The paper attacked the recent government amendments to the Building Safety Bill that, it claimed, amounted to little more than “a bizarre lucky dip”.
Rebecca Cattermole acted pro bono for leaseholders against the landlord’s go-to guy, Justin Bates, who failed to persuade the tribunal that making leaseholders pay £30 plus VAT for the admin of their ground rent demands was just fine
Property tribunal habitue freeholder Israel Moskovitz has failed to charge £30 every time he issues a ground rent demand, the Upper Tribunal has ruled.
The case was brought by leaseholder and RTM chair Philippe Stampfer, of east London, who was indignant about this “deplorable practice of fee skimming”.
The housing association L&Q has abandoned rip-off doubling ground rents at a West London site after encouragement from the Competition and Markets Authority as part of its on-going investigation into the mis-selling of leases.
L&Q’s climbdown affects leaseholders at the Acton Gardens site (below), although it is likely to include sites across the portfolio where similar rip-off ground rents were introduced.
Importantly, those leaseholders who accepted L&Q’s earlier offer to vary the doubling ground rent clause in their lease to rise with RPI instead can now vary it again to ensure that the ground rent does not rise at all.