Labour has condemned “legalised extortion” after new figures showed that there are now four million leasehold homes in England.
Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey said: “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.”
The latest figures show that leasehold dwellings are equal to 21% of private sector stock, and with 30% of these houses rather than flats.
Healey added that “This is unfinished business for Labour.” The party has previously said that it will cap rising charges that leaseholders pay in so-called ‘ground rents’ and plans to end the routine use of leasehold ownership in new housing developments.
A survey from insurer Direct Line found that average ground rents on new build properties are £371 a year, though there have been reports of much higher figures, which are escalating sharply.