'Leasehold is broken and in need of radical reform'

A general view of the Brent Civic Centre and Wembley Library in Wembley, London.

Brent Civic Centre - Credit: PA Images

I have been taken aback by the situation many leaseholders face. Often trapped in buildings with major defects whilst crippling service charges continue to rise.

Leasehold is broken and in need of radical reform, or even scrapped altogether.

For many the dream of owning property is only possible through government first-time buyer schemes, most of which are leasehold. However, its flaws often outweigh the benefits of home ownership.

This week I again had to intervene to ensure urgent action by a housing association to resolve a communal heating system issue in a block of flats in Alperton that left a resident without hot water for six days!

This example isn’t unique.

Cllr Anton Georgiou, Liberal Democrat

Cllr Anton Georgiou, Liberal Democrat - Credit: Cllr Anton Georgiou

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Many buildings have serious defects that make living in them a misery. Costs spiral out of control whilst leaseholders have no say in their maintenance; they are simply handed bills under threat of forfeiture if they don’t pay.

And whilst a demand does exist for new housing, surely there needs to be better regulation of developers to ensure the ‘luxury, modern apartments’ being hurled up are built to good standard and without extortionate costs for fixing defects falling on homeowners.

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One thing I am certain of is that these units are not what local people require, which is why I will continue to ask serious questions of developers and the Labour Council.

Rather than flooding Brent with more of the same and encouraging the flawed leasehold tenure, let’s have a conversation about building needed social housing and attempting to give local people the type of housing we need.

Cllr Anton Georgiou (Lib Dem) represents Alperton ward on Brent Council.

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