RESIDENTS affected by the leasehold scandal say they are still open to an ‘amicable’ solution.

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

Aviva has committed to remove certain terms from its leasehold contracts which cause ground rents to double, and Persimmon will now offer leasehold house owners the opportunity to buy the freehold of their home at a discounted price.

The move comes after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched enforcement action against four housing developers in September 2020 – including Barratt Developments.

In connection with this action, the CMA has also been investigating several investment firms that bought a large number of freeholds from two of these developers and continued to use these same ground rent terms.

Mike Carroll, who lives on Steinbeck Grange in Chapelford, is among those affected by the leasehold scandal on what residents say is a collective issue.

They believe they were mis-sold their property by David Wilson Homes – which is part of Barratt Developments.

He described the CMA securing ‘landmark commitments’ from Persimmon and Aviva as exciting news.

Mr Carroll says, although this is a positive announcement for those buyers that were not given correct or accurate information at the point of sale, there are victims on Steinbeck Grange that were ‘strategically deceived’ and mis-sold their homes by David Wilson Homes.

He said: “Residents have been campaigning for years to have this issue resolved amicably, albeit the collective evidence collated and conduct of the developer clearly breaches consumer protection law.”

Mr Carroll also says residents have found themselves trapped in unsellable homes with unreasonable contracts that where not explained at the point of sale.

He added: “Those that have been fortunate to sell their homes have done so at a considerable loss after making several reductions due to issues with both the leasehold and management contract.

“Residents are still open to an amicable resolve to what is believed to be a fraudulent case, however, if David Wilson or Barratt’s cannot agree to this then residents would relish the opportunity to share their collective case through the courts.”

But the developer has issued a statement in response.

A spokesperson from David Wilson Homes North West said: “All of David Wilson Homes’ leases are designed and intended to be clear and transparent, and all customers were made aware of the leasehold nature of the properties, and any management contracts prior to sale.

“We aim to provide all relevant information to our customers at first point of sale, and through solicitors prior to exchange of contracts. All customers have access to independent legal advice throughout the purchase process.”