Housing association leaseholders in London need the GLA to act

Many leaseholders in London bought their flats
through flagship government-backed schemes such as shared ownership. As a
result, a significant number of leaseholders have a housing association (HA) as
their landlord; the HA is also often the freeholder of their building, but this
is not always the case.

Unfortunately, many leaseholders who are
caught up in the building safety crisis have found that their HA has been unhelpful,
and we hear frequent examples of leaseholders experiencing very poor customer
service. We also hear many reports of requests for fire risk assessments (FRAs)
and EWS1 documents being turned down by HAs. We are also aware of an increasing
number of requests to sublet flats being summarily refused. HAs often fail to
provide any support, but also fail to uphold leaseholders’ human right to
adequate housing.

Shared ownership leaseholders are currently
liable for 100% of building safety remediation costs, even if they own as
little as a 25% share in their flat. Some shared ownership leaseholders in
London have already lost their home and many are facing life-changing costs,
bankruptcy and homelessness. This is all within the context of the Government
continuing to promote shared ownership as an affordable way to “own” a home –
unfortunately, the reality on the ground is very different.

We had an initial meeting to discuss these
issues with Tom Copley, London’s Deputy Mayor in charge of Housing, on 4 June,
2021. We asked him to amend Great London Assembly (GLA) policy, where necessary,
so that leaseholders are no longer trapped in their flat by their HA and are appropriately
supported. You can read
our letter summarizing some of our key asks sent after the meeting and Tom Copley’s response.

We did not think that enough had been done
to address our concerns, so we wrote to Tom Copley again on 19 August:
read our letter.

We are currently waiting for a response.

Call to action:

If you are an impacted leaseholder in
London, please take action:

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Write to your London Assembly Members so that they can ask questions to
the Mayor of London

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Write to your MP

Write to members of the House of Lords

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