Personal finance reporter Sam Brodbeck writes: “The packs are required by housebuyers’ conveyancers, and because they can only be produced by freeholders, the seller is forced to pay whatever price is demanded – or risk the sale falling through.
“Last month Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, confirmed a sweeping set of measures to tackle “feudal practises” in the leasehold property sector.
“These include banning the sale of new-build houses on leasehold terms and eliminating entirely ground rents on houses and flats.
“Homeowners hope the changes will also wipe out expensive “sales packs” sold by freeholders and property management companies. The packs contain basic information, such as whether the leaseholders has any outstanding debts.”
The Telegraph highlights the case of Ceri Allen, 31, paying £275 to property manager Mainstay on selling her Taylor Wimpey property in Cheshire.
David Smith, 63, was asked for £460 in Eccles, Manchester: £280 for Zenith property management and £180 from the Ground Rents Income Fund that owned the freehold.
Both Zenith and Mainstay are ARMA “good guys”, to use the optimistic term used by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid at the ARMA conference last year:
For some reason, the Ground rent Income Fund says leaseholders are not compelled to buy the packs … er yes, but then people aren’t compelled to sell their homes, either.
Sebastian O’Kelly, a trustee of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership is quoted saying that the fees are not written into leases but “dreamed up by monetisers in the leasehold sector”.
“They have the sellers over a barrel as leaseholders who protest can, and do, lose their buyers.
“A vindictive freeholder, whose financial stake in a building can amount to as little as 3pc of the value of all the leases, can make a property virtually unsellable through being obstructive at this stage.
“It is a further example of the unbalanced nature of leasehold.”