A poll of 1,000 leaseholders within apartment blocks across the UK has found that 70% are worried by the government’s decision to press more responsibilities on them following the Grenfell Tower disaster.

The extra duties for building management and safety follow the draft Building Safety Bill published earlier this week which will hand those who manage apartment blocks increased financial and legal obligations including the creation of an ‘accountable person’. The Bill is the government’s response to Grenfell Tower and the need for regulatory reform.

But if the government’s expected moves to reform the leasehold system following this week’s Law Commission reports – which freeholders argue will remove them from the equation if ground rents are abolished – will transfer these new responsibilities to leaseholders and commonholders.

The research, commissioned by the UK’s leading freeholders, reveals that if this were to happen, many leaseholders believe it would be ‘a disaster’.

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Health and safety

Some 67% of respondents are worried about the extra admin and neglect of building maintenance. A further 65% foresaw personal health and safety as an issue, given many leaseholders’ “lack of awareness around certain issues and understanding of up-to-date legislation”.

Additionally, 63% fear conflict with other residents when it comes to decision making.

Richard Silva, Executive Director of residential freeholder Long Harbour, says: “The Government is right to be introducing these new reforms to building safety, but this new evidence clearly shows that leaseholders do not want to be landed with these responsibilities themselves.

“As professional freeholders, we are perfectly positioned and equipped to take on these legal and financial responsibilities, but this will be impossible if the Government drives freeholders out of the market by removing our financial incentive, in the form of a reasonable ground rent.”

The research referred to in this article was carried by research organisation Savanta.com on behalf of enquiries@ukfreeholders.co.uk.

Read the full text of the research.

30 COMMENTS

  1. This looks like an important piece of research. Could you please outline how you selected your research sample and what methodology you used to survey?
    It would also be interesting to see a breakdown of the stats in more depth eg how many blocks were involved ; where were they situated ; how long did the residents have to complete the survey and so on.
    Thank you

    • When was ground rent ever anything but pure profit for a self-styled ‘professional freeholder’?

      This article sounds like a hissy fit threat to withdraw from Freehold investment because of the loss of investment profit from ground rent. Well, ….. good!

      Ground rent has nothing to do with service charges, so it’s ludicrous to say that continuing to receive ground rent would enable a caring landlord to manage service charges and safety regulations any better than leaseholders with Right to Manage, able to employ a good managing agent of their choice.

      Better still, a Commonhold system would enable residents with a share of the freehold to fully control insurance and maintenance, ensuring building safety and fairness of service charges. There are ways to deal with non paying residents that should ensure Commonhold or, in the case of leaseholders, Right to Manage would work.

  2. Haha what shoddy reporting and made up statistics. Obviously you have a dog in this fight. Nigel if you are writing an article in future please actually have the research to hand

    • Thanks for the feedback Rich 🙂 It was a report on the research and made it clear it was conducted by freeholders among leaseholders – there’s no dog in the fight from me… Nigel

    • Sorry but it is nonsense! Let the freeholders provide the names and addresses of the people in this “research”.
      They have exploited freeholders for decades and now they are just desperately making up rubbish as they know the gravy train is running away from them!

  3. The research, commissioned by the UK’s leading freeholders, reveals that if this were to happen, many leaseholders believe it would be ‘a disaster’. Says it all doesn’t it. Total and utter BS.

    • Yeah a disaster – for them!
      They won’t be able to rip people off to the tune of millions for doing nothing!
      Boo hoo ????

  4. Considering I run the National Leasehold Campaign (NLC) with 18k members I am struggling to find ONE person who was aware of this research let alone completed it.

    The validity of this research is questionable. I thought journalists need to validate the source of the information before publishing, I guess not ??

  5. The Law commissions state millions of leaseholders are being cheated, after doing years of consultations. Nigel who should we believe? There are many Landlords (Commerical and BTL)on ‘Landlordzone’ who are also unhappy leaseholders, you only Have to look at the forum threads. Please check the source of the ludicrous information and get them to publish the facts. Imo it pure poppycock.

  6. I wonder how everyone else in the whole world copes without leasehold tenure, exploitative landlords and being milked by greedy “management companies” ?
    I would love to know who these fictitious people are that are terrified of breaking away from the blatant exploitation and outfight fraud that is leasehold?
    I don’t know anyone that likes being ripped off – apart from these “mystery” leaseholders who love it apparently!!!
    Leasehold is the most exploitative, immortal scam in this country – and has been for decades.
    We are NOT scared to own our own homes, employ ethical management companies and stop being shamelessly robbed.
    Enough is ENOUGH!
    Abolish leasehold and end this vile industry once and for all!!

  7. Absurd! All of these tasks are undertaken Managing Agents And this would continue to be so under Commonhold. Freeholders contribute NOTHING to the management of leasehold properties but instead leech from leaseholders in the form of ground rents, spurious ‘fees’, insurance commissions etc. etc.
    No other country in the world uses this system, it’s time for change.

  8. Utter tosh! The data itself is questionable given now Leasehold as a tenure is unravelling and more of those “penny drop” moments are happening.

    My freeholder, does absolutely nothing, other than take my hard earned money for the sham that is a Lease Extension and up until then the ground rent and everything else to maintain HIS building. Freeholders are NOT custodians of buildings – this report is just a facade.

  9. Please can you tell me a bit more about this survey can you give me breakdown of stats how many people and blocks were involved witch zone or area does it cover.

  10. And so the freeholders fight begins as their financial abuses may be curtailed. Only area where financial abuse is still not a crime. Yet..

  11. Complete and utter tosh! Freeholders are worried that the gravy train is almost over and the innocent people they have ripped off and bullied for years are done with the abuse. Whomever wrote this piece needs to do their research and not take lies from freeholders at face value!

  12. This is absolutely laughable. Where are these 1000 people ? Given who commissioned this dodgy survey I’m suspecting that they are absolutely ecstatic that their caring freeholder could soon be building on top of them under the new permitted development rights the government are so keen to bring in. Who in their right mind would trust their building safety to an offshore investment company that is only interested in the buildings income stream.
    How low can these people sink by using the tragedy of Grenfell to push their agenda.

  13. Nigel, unfortunately your report is not well informed. Commonholders own their property and already have responsibilty for their building safety. Many thousands of leaseholders would relish the opportunity to take ownership and control of their building. A report funded by freeholders based on a poll of 1000 leaseholders (selected how?) that shares hand picked quotes is nothing but anecdotal evidence whilst dressing itself up as ‘research’. This is not good science. You have taken this report at face value and as a result, without questioning its validity, you are promoting freeholder propaganda. How about talking to a well informed body representing leaseholder views such as the NLC or LKP and doing an article that represents their viewpoint to provide some balance?

  14. This doesn’t reflect the views of the hundreds of people I’m in touch with who are being exploited by the current leaseholder system and are absolutely desperate for reform. The implementation of the Law Commission recommendations will be of benefit to good management companies by opening up a proper market system. The only people who should fear the changes are the greedy, sub-standard management companies and their rich freehold owning backers who use the current system as a type of legalised fraud whereby they can charge exorbitant fees for sub-standard work. Ordinary people are being financially broken by the current system. It has to change.

  15. Of the 1000 leaseholders questioned, it appears that Hayley’s multiple worries made an impression and suited your agenda.

    Saying the rest of the world has got it it wrong and leasehold is the only path to follow is nonsense.

    Fast forward Commonhold and reduce ground rent to zero.

  16. Very odd that the exploitation of the leasehold system still survives in England and Wales when so many suffer from it. Very much hope it’s days are numbered and the Law Commission reports are the beginning of the end for it.

  17. Working in market research myself it is very easy to commission some and load the questions and sampling to get the kind of response you want. For this to be taken seriously it needs to be stated who was sampled and exactly how representative of leaseholders it is. 1,000 seems a small sample size seeing as there are over 4 million leaseholders in England and Wales.

  18. What an absolutely laughable article. This in no way represents the views of any leaseholder I’ve ever met, or even heard of. The ‘research’ is heavily biased nonsense. The questions cleverly designed to provoke the responses the commissioners require to support their views. That’s assuming it took place at all and isn’t completely made up.

  19. Sorry Nigel, but I have to say that I find this post quite distasteful! You simply can’t equate some resident’s apprehension about block management with the Grenfell Tower disaster! And the Government is not set to “press more responsibilities” on leaseholders as you state/elude to in your article. In the interest of trying to heal some of the social divisions we unfortunately all have to live in nowadays, I think it would at least be helpful if you provide a link to the poll report you hang your article on.

    I also think it’s important for everyone to understand that the Government’s Draft Safety Bill is completely independent to the Law Commission’s recommended reforms to the leasehold system. The Government’s Draft Safety Bill is purely in response to the lack of accountability following the Grenfell Tower disaster and is an attempt to ensure that all those involved in property development – architects, builders, fabricators, block management firms, maintenance companies and freeholders (a private business or enfranchised residents) etc. – take more responsibility for safety regulations. The Law Commission’s recommended reforms to the leasehold system were published after parliament asked the Law Commission to investigate the whole system because a lot of developers have unscrupulously worked with investment firms over the past 10-20 years to entrap thousands of home buyers; not just in terms of “snow balling” rising ground rents and service charges, but critically, in terms of the massively hiked freehold valuations the investment firms want if a homeowner requests to purchase the freehold privately or through enfranchisement.

    The Law Commission’s recommended reforms are multifaceted. Anyone’s who interest of exactly what the recommendations are, please visit: https://www.lawcom.gov.uk/millions-of-leaseholders-to-benefit-from-law-commission-reforms

    • Hi thanks Jon for your comments – believe me I wasn’t intending to be distasteful! – I was trying to allude to the fact that the reform of leaseholds and how buildings are managed, and the Grenfell tradgedy, and the draft Safety Bill are all part of a larger picture of blurred lines of responsibility and accountability when it comes to property ownership in the UK.

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