HOME buyers at Picket Twenty are speaking out against the leasehold system they believe they have been trapped in.

Residents who bought leaseholds from housing developer Persimmon Homes are warning others of the pitfalls after bad experiences of their own.

Leasehold properties are owned for a fixed time period and the landlord, also known as the freeholder, often charges a ‘ground rent’ fee as a condition of the lease.

Occupants must also make payments to a contractor for the property’s upkeep.

One Picket Twenty Way leaseholder, Kevin Brown, purchased his lease in 2014 and, since a break up with his long-term partner, has been trying to sell the property on.

The father-of-one said: “During the period it was on the market I had little interest from any buyers and learnt from a neighbour, also trying to sell a similar property, that they had two sales fall through because the purchasers were unable to obtain a mortgage due to the ground rent and uncapped service changes payable.

“My lease states the ground rent will increase £200 every 10 years, it’s currently £200, and the service charge in the first year was £700, but this has already escalated to £1,500 in the fourth year.

“I feel stupid and naïve, but at the time I was sold a dream for a new start for my family, owning our own home.”

A resident at The Paddocks, Angela Dewey, claimed during the purchase of her new three-bedroom home it was not made clear it was a leasehold property until the process had already begun.

The 42-year-old entered into a ‘Home Change’ deal with Persimmon Homes, where the selling of their former home was done by the developer, and so the mother said she was “given the impression” they would have to pay thousands of pounds if they pulled out of the sale.

Angela said: “We made it clear the only reason we were staying in was because we couldn’t afford to pull out.

“The whole thing has been farcical from start to finish and now we are stuck in this leasehold.”

Persimmon Homes has stated it is clear what the property type is and its leases meet mortgage lender requirements.

A spokesperson from Persimmon Homes South Coast said: “At the point of reservation, it is clear from the reservation form and the instructions to solicitors whether the property is sold on a freehold or a leasehold basis and this is also clear in the contractual documentation, as would have been apparent to the independent firms of solicitors who acted for our customers.

“All of the leases on the development were compliant with the Council of Mortgage Lenders’ requirements at the point of sale and, as such, provided the correct security required by mortgage lenders.”

Calls have been made nationally for government reform to the leasehold system, and last year housing chiefs banned leaseholds for nearly all new build homes.

North West Hampshire MP and housing minister Kit Malthouse said: “I am currently in the process of organising a meeting between Persimmon and my affected constituents to uncover what happened during the sales.

“It’s unacceptable for home buyers to be exploited through unnecessary leaseholds. That’s why we have announced new measures to ban leaseholds for almost all new build houses, and changes to ensure ground rents on new long leases are set to a peppercorn rate.”

A National Leasehold Campaign (NLC) has also been pushing momentum to scrap the leasehold system, which has also been abolished in Scotland.

The group is encouraging leaseholders to submit evidence towards a government select committee inquiry into the issue. 

NLC founder Katie Kendrick said: “I set up the NLC to help support the thousands of people stuck in the Leasehold Scandal.  

“People genuinely do not realise they are caught in this tangled web until maybe they try to sell their leasehold property or re-mortgage and it’s then they realise the issues. 

“With government banning new-build houses being sold as leasehold in the future this has now created a two-tier system.  It is becoming increasingly difficult to sell a leasehold property and, in some cases, where the ground rent doubles every 10 years it’s almost impossible to sell with such onerous terms. 

“People are literally trapped in their homes. This is not what people were led to believe when they purchased these properties. 

“I would urge anyone considering purchasing a leasehold property or any new build to join the National Leasehold Campaign (NLC) on Facebook."