One million Londoners could face financial exploitation by their freeholders

A leasehold expert has warned that a million Londoners could face exploitation at the hands of freeholders and ground rent investors. The stark warning comes ahead of a free event this September to provide advice and support to leaseholders affected by the nationwide leasehold scandal.

Of London’s 3.5 million householders, an estimated third – and over 90% of new-build properties – are owned on a leasehold basis. East London has some of the highest volumes of leasehold property in the country; last year 92% of properties in Tower Hamlets and 78% of properties in Hackney were sold on a leasehold basis.

Leaseholders own their home for a limited period, after which they must pay the freeholder for a lease extension or risk losing their property for nothing when the lease expires.

Louie Burns, Managing Director of the Leasehold Solutions Group, said: “Nearly all flats in London are sold as leasehold as the capital continues to see a huge rise in new builds and flat conversions. These properties are a cash cow for freeholders and developers, because they can continue to extract income from leaseholders for decades through ground rents and service charges.

“Leaseholders across East London face huge bills to extend their leases, on top of the financial burden of paying ground rents and service charges. People who own these homes are vulnerable in any dispute with the freeholder and often suffer from financial exploitation.

“Across East London we’ve seen instances of informal deals being offered to leaseholders, which offer them no legal protection whatsoever, as well as onerous ground rents, unfair service charges and freeholders charging leaseholders for permission to make alterations to their homes.

The Leasehold Solutions Group will host the free-to-attend roadshow, which takes place at the Professional Development Centre, 229 Bethnal Green Road on Tuesday 17 September between 1pm and 5.30pm.

Louie continued: “We’re bringing the Leasehold Roadshow to East London to provide leaseholders with free, honest and impartial advice to help them extend their lease or buy their freehold without getting ripped off by their freeholders.

“Our roadshow will help leaseholders to consider their options and choose the best course of action according to their situation, whether that’s to extend their lease or buy their freehold and take back control of their own financial destiny.”

The event will feature informative seminars and one-to-one meetings with project management, legal and valuation experts, to give leaseholders the chance to discuss specific issues and gain free advice from qualified and experienced leasehold lawyers and surveyors.

Places are limited and must be booked in advance.

For more information or to book a place at this FREE event visit www.theleaseholdroadshow.co.uk/east-london-2019