London Lib Dems Pledge a Fair Deal for Leaseholders

As millions of Londoners face soaring service charges from the start of this month (April), Lib Dem mayoral candidate Rob Blackie has pledged to fight greedy landlords and freeholders.

Over a third of households in the capital are leaseholders. Many are obliged to pay a service charge for communal services, repairs and insurance to their building’s freeholder or landlord.

But from the beginning of this financial year, many leaseholders have been stunned to see huge increases in these service charges. Some fear losing their homes or are watching the value of their property slide into negative equity as a result.

In some cases there is no transparency over what the charges are for, nor why they have risen by hundreds of pounds a month. The sector is unregulated allowing landlords to raise charges by an unlimited amount. Challenging them can be a long, expensive process for leaseholders.

Rob Blackie said:

“Rogue landlords and freeholders are squeezing leaseholders for every penny with unfair service charges, exacerbating the cost-of-living crisis.

“As mayor I would set up a support hub to challenge unfair service charges, using the template the Lib Dems called for around the building safety scandal. We amended the mayor’s budget; he vetoed it. We will help leaseholders fight for a fair deal.

“Sadiq Khan has failed to deliver on his 2021 manifesto pledge to tackle the service charges scandal by working with local councils. For example, leaseholders in Barking and Dagenham were charged thousands for garden maintenance when all they received was a simple grass cut. This is a one-hundred-percent Labour controlled council.

“The Conservatives promised to abolish leasehold but have abandoned this in the face of powerful lobbying by the freeholder lobby.

“The Liberal Democrats’ national policy is to introduce commonhold systems where appropriate, helping 4.6 million leaseholders move towards having control over their own lives. We would also abolish ground rent, just as the Conservatives promised in their 2019 manifesto and have failed to do.

“Again, Sadiq Khan promised a commonhold pilot scheme on GLA land in his 2021 manifesto and have failed to deliver.”