The Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE) an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities was set up in 1994 to empower residential leaseholders by providing free legal advice so leaseholders and park homeowners could challenge poor practices where it occurs and LEASE could highlight to Government defects in the laws affecting leasehold in England and Wales.
LEASE must go further, as sadly homeowners continue to be subjected to escalating corruption, profiteering, neglect and sharp practices by unscrupulous-greedy property developers, freeholders, managing agents including some surveyors, solicitors, conveyancers, insurance industry workers, builders, suppliers as well as trade bodies.
I became aware of the depth and scale of some of the problems leaseholders face during 2010 whilst helping a constituent with their leasehold issues. There are inherent defects in our archaic leasehold laws, more so the legislation and support/advisory services intended to protect leaseholders were not fit for purpose.
Speaking at the annual LEASE conference in 2017, I warned those in attendance that the coming years wouldn't be the usual knees-up and mutual back-slapping that the monetisors of the leasehold sector were used to.
As co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Leasehold and Commonhold Reform (APPG) since its inception in 2014, on behalf of the Group, I commend the Secretary of State Rt Hon Michael Gove with Housing Minister Rachel Maclean in their choice of candidate for the LEASE role and indeed for their tireless work for leasehold reform:
It’s really hard for myself, or the secretary of state, to think of anybody more fitted to lead and to strengthen LEASE so that it can help more leaseholders and park home owners, playing a key role in supporting them to make the most of the benefits and opportunities afforded by the fourth coming Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill.
Rachel Maclean speaking at the APPG meeting on 7th November
I have known Martin for well over a decade. He’s a hardworking, dedicated stalwart expert on all things leasehold and with Sebastian O’Kelly will continue to grow the well-known registered charity, Leasehold Knowledge Partnership (LKP).
Stepping down as APPG secretariat we thank Martin for his tremendous work. He’s been a great leader. He is fair and fearless and highly regarded across the leasehold sector.
He will do well as chair of LEASE steering its vital work with the Government, parliament, leaseholder and cladding groups and the Law Commission to improve people's lives whilst developing vital sections of the housing market.
In his gracious address, King Charles made clear the Government’s commitment to creating a fair and just housing system. The coming year in parliament will be exciting for leaseholders and leasehold campaigners nationwide as the Government announces its Leasehold Reform Bill that will bring justice to the millions of households in England.
Colleagues will undoubtedly join in supporting the upcoming bill, and any necessary additions and amendments, to ensure justice is finally delivered for leaseholders. It’s time.