Problems are inherent in the system. They are built in and they will not ‘go away’ with a new Act of Parliament
Most disputes between lessee and freeholder occur because the freeholder has the right to choose, while the leaseholder has only the right to challenge.
Government, because of the volume of leaseholders’ complaints, has attempted to modify the absolute power of the freeholder.
What it has not done is alter the power relationship. It is still the freeholder who acts (or not) and the leaseholder who reacts. Freeholders do not need the consent of leaseholders to build penthouses on top of a leasehold block. They can continue even if it is totally against the wishes of all the leaseholders.
But, leaseholders must have consent from the freeholder even to:
- Initiate a repair to the building
- Alter their flat
- Supervise work on the structure or services
‘Consents’ can be charged for Consent can be refused if the freeholder disagrees.
A leaseholder who continues without ‘consent’ can actually be accused of ‘trespass’.
The present 2002 Act has the most complicated rules for leaseholder / freeholder disputes ever set down.
Successive governments have failed to control leasehold disputes, because it is the leasehold system itself which has inherent problems. Leasehold reform leads to an accumulation of rules (called ‘laws’) which are more and more complex, making disputes unfathomable. There is no reason to continue leasehold.
This country is unique in the world in still allowing leasehold for residential developments.
Problems are inherent in the system. They are built in and they will not ‘go away’ with a new Act of Parliament.
Acts of Parliament simply change the rules of the game. The playing field is the same with the fictional division of a property between the land owner and the lessee.
This inevitably leads to disputes in which the leaseholder is at a disadvantage. The Rules are full of expressions like ‘eligibility criteria’, ‘qualifying rules’, and ‘requirements’
All these criteria are for leaseholders. There are no similar ‘criteria’ for freeholders.
For example there are two equal sets of promises (covenants) in leases. One set for the lessees and an equivalent set for the freeholders.
If a leaseholder breaks a promise (breaches a covenant) then the freeholder can ask for forfeiture. What if the freeholder does the same? there is no equal set of rules for a leaseholder to forfeit a freeholder – only the other way around.
Some of the ways in which Parliament has attempted to answer the problems are complete nonsense. They are also against Social Equality and Social Justice.