Fight for freehold

At a protest earlier this year
At a protest earlier this year

Residents living in Linden Homes’ Kaleidoscope site in Dunstable will be protesting at the First Time Buyers Show to warn people about what has happened to them.

Louise O’Riordan is one of the residents that will be going to the exhibition in Croydon on Saturday, September 30. She is unhappy that the developer still owns the freehold to the site, and wants to warn first time buyers about this practice.

She purchased one of the properties in Kingsway and claims residents are furious that the firm own the freehold to the site and are selling the properties as leasehold.

This means the house is owned for a fixed term and the land on which the property stands is not owned outright by the purchaser who can then be charged a ground rent.

Louise has been fighting this issue since May, she said: “We are still fighting I believe the practice of developers owning the freehold and only selling the leasehold is common and has affected thousands of people across the country.

“We want to warn people of what happened to us and advise them of what to look out for as first-time buyers to they do not get caught in the same situation as us.

“We want the developers to stop this practice, we were misled by the developer about who owned the land, it was only after completion we found out that the developer owned it and not Central Bedfordshire College, as we were led to believe.

“We hope that others will not be misled like us.”

Earlier this year Andrew Selous, South West Beds MP, said the practice of large developers buying freehold land on which they then sell houses on a leasehold basis “stinks”, and raised it in Parliament.

Prime Minister Theresa May said in the Commons: “Other than in certain exceptional circumstances, I do not see why new homes should not be built and sold with the freehold interest at the point of sale.”

The Gazette has approached Linden Homes on numerous occasion on this issue and once again it failed to respond before we went to press.