body of water between houses during sunset
Photo by Luke Thornton on Unsplash

Among the many challenges people are facing throughout the housing and rental market, many are stuck in limbo in a feudal style of homeownership in the form of leasehold that the Government should be addressing as a matter of urgency.

Abuse of soaring ground rents, devastating costs of cladding removal, egregious charges for unrequested works, absent freeholders, those who cancelled plans to undertake statutory lease extension based on Government promise of abolition – the list of issues with the current leasehold system goes on.

And at its very core, the leasehold arrangement lays bare the power imbalances that too many people are forced to endure for the virtue of a secure, stable home and roof over their heads.

It’s already hard enough for people to pull together sufficient deposits and funds to purchase their own home, let alone doing so to find out they don’t actually own it after all.

What’s more, this system is comparably a domestic problem where the UK remains an unwelcome outlier.

Where we lag behind enduring the ills of these leasehold arrangements, other countries have made better use of an alternative our own Government should be pursuing with greater determination: commonhold.

Alongside causes like the greater protection for existing leaseholders and renters against unreasonable conditions and costs, co-operative housing tenure, and better ways to both manage and own property and land more generally, the Co-operative Party has long campaigned for the strengthening of commonhold legislation.

But with no incentive for developers to abandon the freehold and too many incentives to do the opposite, commonhold is critically underutilised and its growth stunted.

It is therefore hugely welcome to see the Labour Party and Shadow Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary Lisa Nandy MP set out both the ambition to end leasehold and support commonhold, and the steps they will take to do so under the next Labour government.

Nearly 5 million people struggle with an archaic system; a concerted effort to overhaul this system is long overdue. Alongside the Labour Party, the Co-operative Party will continue our campaign to ensure this is the case.