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Government estimates number of leasehold dwellings in England

Tuesday 18 April 2017

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has developed a new methodology for estimating the number of residential leasehold dwellings in England and published a report of their findings.

The report matched figures from the English Housing Survey (EHS) and Land Registry title data to estimate the number of residential leasehold dwellings in England.

In 2014-15, there were four million leasehold dwellings in England. Of these privately owned properties, 1.2 million dwellings (30%) were leasehold houses and the remaining 2.8 million (70%) were leasehold flats.

With four in 10 new properties in England and Wales now being sold as leasehold, housing has become a priority focus of Government. 

On Thursday 6 April John Healey MP, Labour's Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, said that a Labour Government would give leaseholders security from rip-off ground rents.

In an official Labour Press release, Mr Healey said:

"These new figures confirm for the first time the scale of leasehold ownership in England. Home-owners who own their home as leaseholders are currently unprotected from rip-off rises in 'ground rents' from developers or management companies.

"At its worst this is little better than legalised extortion and too many leaseholders are having to pay hefty bills as a result. Under a Labour Government this sharp practice would end. This is unfinished business for Labour – we gave leaseholders more protection in Government, but the continuing problem now means we must do more."

A Labour Government would give leaseholders security from rip-off ground rents and end the routine use of leasehold ownership in new housing developments. The issue is one close to our heart, and one which we have been doing a lot of work on, Property Professional magazine and more recently news article 'The Property Trap'.

Answering questions put forward by the Communities and Local Government Committee, Secretary of State Sajid Javid said:

"Clearly there is a legitimate market for leasehold flats and apartments, but there are far too many cases, where I believe a house could have been sold freehold and there was no good reason to sell it on a leasehold basis; that I think is wrong."

With a general election due to be held of 8 June, the plans set out in both the Autumn Statement and the Housing White Paper are a matter of contention. The Secretary of state and the Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell have made it clear that as representatives of the current government, they must caveat any points raised until a new government has been appointed.