The Tories have been promising leasehold reform since 2019. Four years and three Prime Ministers later, the legislation finally arrived. However, despite the Housing Secretary’s earlier suggestion that the feudal and unfair system would be abolished altogether, the Bill fell far short. In a particularly glaring omission, it contained no commitment to banning the building of new leasehold flats, despite these making up 70 per cent of all leasehold properties.

While this issue is pervasive throughout England, Battersea is particularly badly affected. 74 per cent of homes sold in 2022 were classified as leaseholder transactions – the 18th highest of any constituency in the country.

A home should be a place of comfort and security. But that status is being compromised by the continuation of the leasehold system. That’s why I have campaigned to protect my constituents from the adverse effects of this outdated system. I have consistently called on the Prime Minister to abolish leaseholds altogether, including by asking a question at Prime Ministers Questions.

Constituents tell me that they are frequently subject to extortionate and often opaque service and maintenance charges.

Moreover, where complaints are raised with management companies, they have told me that they have received “belittling” and even “abusive” responses rather than action taken. This is completely unacceptable.

One particularly outrageous implication of the outdated leasehold system has come to light following the Grenfell fire. As we mourned the tragic and avoidable deaths of so many, and calls went out for fundamental changes to our housing system, it transpired that leaseholders themselves would have to foot the bill for their own safety. This included many of my Battersea constituents.

While the Government subsequently insisted that developers pay for this work in larger tower blocks, many leaseholders in smaller buildings under 11 metres in Battersea remain exposed.

Given widespread popularity of proposals to bin the system, one has to wonder why legislation has left leaseholds largely intact.

Insiders have ascribed the Prime Minister’s reticence to concern about opposition from developer donors and even from landlords within his own party. As usual, the Conservatives are protecting their own interests over the country’s and amply making the case for Labour’s commitment to clean up politics.

Labour has committed to ending the archaic system entirely, replacing it with a “commonhold”. This will offer leaseholders easy routes to outright ownership of their homes and ensure common areas are jointly administrated by residents rather than remote landlords. This will be an essential step towards finally fixing the chronic housing crisis under the Conservatives.

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