Posted by: In: Planning & Development 18 Sep 2014 Comments: 0


A) Mediumhold Tenancies
Currently residential property can be rented to another either by means of a lease or an assured shorthold tenancy agreement. The former will usually be for a period exceeding 25 years, and the latter for a year or less. Clearly, a vibrantly complex property market such as ours has scope for wider contractual choice. Providing a middle way between rental and purchase would inevitably mean some foregoing property purchase in the short-term thus softening purchase prices.
B) National Brownfield Agency
We need less quangos but more decisive and targeted government action. The Clinton- Gore administration transformed US brownfield policy through a co-ordinated national decontamination strategy. A UK Brownfield Agency could provide grants for risk assessments to identify the nature and cost of the particular decontamination required. In so doing, we could move towards the compilation of an information and data based national brownfield register.
C) Return to Affordable Use 700,000 Empty Properties
There are currently 700,000 empty properties in our country roughly corresponding to the figure for long term and transitory homeless. The EU for all its’ interference in the housing and mortgage market has not promulgated a single worthy initiative to restore to use the 11 million empty properties within its borders. All British governments have failed to address this because they have never conducted sufficient research into why landlords would keep a property empty in an ever rising rental market. Logic at least dictates that properties are kept empty purely because some homeowners do not have the financial resources to refurbish their dilapidated property. UKIP could provide interest free refurbishment loans to landlords on agreed condition that upon repair these properties are let as affordable on a 20 per cent below market value basis. In addition, UKIP could legislate for a hundred per cent council tax waiver, for a specified period, for landlords carrying out works with the intention of returning to market long term empty properties.
D) Community Housing
Margaret Thatcher’s successful Right to Buy policy resulted in a dramatic expansion in home ownership. However, the sale proceeds were not invested in replenishing social housing stock. And it needs to be recognised that when we speak of a housing shortage today we are referring to an affordable housing deficit. UKIP could remedy this by engendering a new community housing initiative, so that a new revitalised right to buy scheme be unveiled whereby revenue therefrom is invested by local authorities into more strategically located community housing.
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Residential properties are virtually always let either on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy or a lease. The former is generally for a year or less, and the latter will normally start at ten years or much beyond. UKIP would innovate a third category tenancy, known as a mediumhold, with a duration of between three to seven years. In so doing, tenants will have the option of greater security of tenure. Whereas, landlords will have secured longer term income and stability. Leading to greater asset value. With the potential to even charge premiums for mediumhold agreements on prime properties. Moreover, property owners will find themselves in a better equity position to support financial arrangements on their property because the extended tenancy will enhance their risk profile.
Mediumhold tenancies will not only give greater freedom and choice to both landlords and tenants but strengthen communities. Longer tenancies will mean more settled, less transient populations. Renewing the traditional sense of community spirit desperately missing from many urban British neighbourhoods.


UK leasehold law is often ambiguous, outdated and desperately in need of reform. Too frequently innocent leaseholders find themselves in expensive and technical legal proceedings at the mercy of unscrupulous freeholders.
Although repossession of a leasehold property by the freeholder is relatively rare. The freeholder can often rely on a technical breach of a lease term to pressure the tenant into selling the property to him or her at significantly below market value. In addition, leaseholders regularly have to pay hefty premiums to extend lease lengths, just to be able to renew their mortgage or refinance the property. Whereby, once again unscrupulous landlords can charge extortionate or unreasonable sums to cash strapped leaseholder households.
How would we reform the present leasehold system;
1.Make commonhold compulsory for all new developments of twenty flats or more. Commonhold would give tenants more protection for and control of the property. Whilst in parallel, giving leaseholders collectively decision making capacity over matters such as maintenance and scope of works.
2.Enable, in blocks of twenty flats or more, the leaseholders by simply majority vote to convert their tenure from leasehold to commonhold. In this way, freeholders are encouraged to be competitive or face losing some of their freehold rights in exchange for nominal fees.
3.Limit further freeholders’ rights of forfeiture. So that a landlord can only take over your lease where there are very substantial arrears of service charges and or ground rent.
4.Simplify the process and reduce the cost of lease extensions. Leases would be extended at a standard cost of 0.005% of market value for each year of increase.
5.Set up the Leasehold Service Charges Tribunal LSCT, to arbitrate on the fairness of service charge bills. Currently, the punishment for leaseholders who dispute service charges is to lose their lease as a result of having to pay expensive legal bills. The LSCT would provide a swift and economical mechanism to adjudicate on these disputes without putting the leaseholder at risk of forfeiture and financial ruin.
Leasehold reform should transcend ideology and party politics. We would therefore establish the Leasehold Reform Panel comprising of representatives from all the main political parties and various landlord and tenant groups to facilitate this radical orientation of leasehold law towards protecting everyday British families and households.