Michael Gove Lisa Nandy UPS Waters Party Michael Gove Lisa Nandy

Property management firms that rip off leaseholders could be banned under Labour

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Property management companies would be banned from operating in England and Wales if they persistently ripped off leaseholders, under plans being considered by Labour.Lisa Nandy, the shadow housing secretary, is looking at proposals to clamp down on the sector, amid complaints from leaseholders about escalating fees and essential maintenance being left undone.The plans, which have not yet been completed, are under consideration as part of a wider package to overhaul the current leasehold system, including bringing an eventual end to leaseholds altogether.During a Commons debate on Tuesday, Nandy called the practices of some property managing agents “a scandal hiding in plain sight”.

Her backbench colleague Emma Hardy added: “There is no one regulating these companies. They’re accountable to no one – even members of parliament find it very difficult to hold them to account for their bad practice.”About 10 million Britons own their homes through leasehold, and face having to pay extra charges for ground rent, service fees and leasehold extensions.Michael Gove has promised to end what he called the “feudal” leasehold system, but the Guardian revealed earlier this month those plans had been watered down after Downing Street decided they would be too difficult to enact before the next election.Ministers said on Tuesday they intended to cap ground rents and ban property owners from charging leaseholders extortionate fees to fulfil simple requests.Labour said it would enact a “phased” end to the system if elected next year, including a ban on new developments being sold as leaseholds, scrapping any issued after 2017 and eliminating more historical versions in the longer term.In the meantime, the party also plans to clamp down

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