According to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), there is evidence of leasehold homeowners being unfairly treated and misled by housing developers.

Signing house contract

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The CMA’s concerns include homeowners paying escalating ground rents, on occasion doubling every 10 years; buyers being misled about the cost of converting their leasehold into freehold ownership; buyers not being told that the property is leasehold up front, and not being told what owning a leasehold means; and buyers being faced with unreasonable fees such as routine maintenance of the building’s shared spaces.

CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli said: “We have found worrying evidence that people who buy leasehold properties are being misled and taken advantage of.

“Buying a home is one of the most important and expensive investments you can make, and once you’re living there you want to feel secure and happy. But for thousands of leasehold homeowners, this is not the case.

“We’ll be looking carefully at the problems we’ve found, which include escalating ground rents and misleading information, and will be taking our own enforcement action directly in the sector shortly.”