AN MP has accused a developer of trapping residents in ‘onerous’ leasehold agreements.

Leasehold ownership, most commonly found in flats, means purchasing a home for the duration of a usually long-term lease rather than owning it outright.

Council leader Cllr Russ Bowden recently held a meeting with the National Leasehold Campaign and affected Warrington residents to discuss the Labour-run authority’s ‘future actions to tackle the leasehold scandal’.

Cllr Bowden said: “We are absolutely behind residents, some of the practice they reported that has happened over the past few years is shady practice.

“People going into arrangements believing they had first call on being able to buy the leasehold and finding out they had already been sold and then obviously the escalation in some of those leasehold arrangements.

“Of course, what that means is some people fear they wouldn’t be able to sell their houses under those arrangements.”

Cllr Bowden also says the issue requires decisive Government action and highlighted the importance of delivering an action plan.

“I am sure one part of that will be around lobbying Government around changes in policy but also retrospective action, if appropriate, in the very worst cases,” he added.

Warrington South MP Faisal Rashid has repeatedly raised leasehold-related matters on behalf of residents.

And the Labour politician has launched an attack on David Wilson Homes.

Mr Rashid said: “Many Warrington South residents have found themselves trapped in onerous leasehold agreements – from rip-off ground rents, punitive fees to unfair contract conditions.

“Steinbeck Grange in Chapelford is one example of this injustice by David Wilson Homes.

“The system is broken and people rightly demand change.

“Labour has announced bold new plans to end the injustice of the feudal leasehold system – breaking the stranglehold of a small group of developers and freeholders. I am proud to support these plans.”

But David Wilson Homes has hit back.

A spokeswoman said: “The terms of the leases at Steinbeck Grange are not at all onerous, they are 999-year leases with fixed ground rents which do not increase and will therefore fall in real terms over time.

“All purchasers were made aware of the leasehold nature of the properties, which is not unusual in the area, and they all had access to independent legal advice throughout the purchase process.”

Andy Carter, Tory parliamentary candidate for Warrington South, believes the Government’s Reform Report includes ‘positive proposals’ which need to implemented.

He said: “Some of the practice from developers has been completely out of order and I am really pleased that the Government has made a commitment to ban the use of leasehold on houses, there is no good reason for houses to be sold on a leasehold basis in the future.

“We also need to see redress for those who have entered into arrangements in good faith by giving people more options and tools where things have gone wrong.”