South West Bedfordshire MP Andrew Selous continued to raise the unreasonable practice of developers selling new homes on a leasehold basis on land bought by the developers as freehold at Prime Minister’s Questions today. The Linden Homes Kaleidoscope Estate in Dunstable and homes being built by Persimmon on the south of Leighton Buzzard fall into this category.
As a leader who wants to spread wealth and opportunity as widely as possible, will the Prime Minister ensure that we end the practice of developers buying freehold land on which they then sell new houses on a leasehold basis? Many first time buyers on Help to Buy feel that they are being ripped off by this practice and look to the Government for help.
I thank my hon. Friend for mentioning that issue, which he has raised with me previously. I know he is concerned about it and working on it. Our housing White Paper clearly sets out that developers should be building homes for people to live in. That means that we will act to promote fairness for the growing number of leaseholders, but we will consult on a range of measures to tackle unfair and unreasonable abuses of leasehold, as the Housing Minister has said. Other than in certain exceptional circumstances, I do not see why new homes should not be built and sold with the freehold interest at the point of sale.
Speaking afterwards Andrew Selous said “I am delighted to have had this further robust response from the Prime Minister following on from the answer I received from the Leader of the House of Commons last week. I now call on Galliford Try and Persimmon to stop selling any further new houses on a leasehold basis and to make immediate arrangements to enable those residents who bought their new houses on a leasehold basis to purchase their freeholds speedily and affordably. The reputations of these two companies are at stake and I will be watching carefully to see how they behave”.