NEW government moves to end the sale of newly-built homes on a leasehold basis have been welcomed by MPs.

House purchasers across East Lancashire - including in the Ribble Valley, Colne, Rawtenstall and Blackburn - have raised concerns about the practice by developers.

Unlike freehold property owners leaseholders do not own the land on which their house is built and pay an initial small rental for occupying it.

But this charge can rise sharply or be sold on to third parties who can then increase the ‘ground rent’ payment dramatically and force the purchasers to pay thousands to buy them out

Last week Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans raised in Parliament the case of Trevor and Margaret Knowell of Calderstones Green in Whalley who were made to pay £38,000 to buy their freehold from a third party just months after it was sold on by the developer for £7,000.

A 41-year-old leasehold owner of a newly-built property in Rawtenstall said: “It was never pointed out at all when we bought that the developer had the right to sell the freehold on to a third party who could then charge what they like.

“We now feel we have to shell out £6,000 for the freehold to have future peace of mind. It flies in the face of the old ‘peppercorn rent’ leasehold custom.”

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson has had similar complaints from new estates in Colne while Great Harwood residents have raised the issue with Blackburn MP Kate Hollern.

On Tuesday Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, unveiled the plans, which include measures to close legal loopholes to protect leaseholders

Mr Evans said: “Builders do not point out that ground rents can double every ten years for the next 50 years.

“It is an absolute scandal that is blighting properties people are now trying to sell.

“Whilst I am pleased with the proposals announced today, it is absolutely crucial that every homeowner who has been subject to the leasehold scam is given the opportunity to buy their freehold at the original price, regardless of whether they have been sold to a third party.”

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said: “I have had complaints about this from residents of new estates in Colne. These measures are good news.”

Burnley MP Julie Cooper said: “Greater clarity on this issue was greatly needed and long overdue. It is essential that the property buying public be safeguarded from unfair or unscrupulous contracts when making the most significant purchase of their lives.”

Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry said: “I welcome confirmation that the Government is taking action to end this 21st century scandal.”

Hyndburn MP Graham Jones: “Leasehold scams are rising. Scrapping leaseholds on new builds is a start.”