Opinion: Leaseholders are all in it together
Published by Brian Church for 24dash.com in Housing
George Osborne: 'We are having it hard because he has it so easy'
By Alistair McIntosh
Che Guevara, Marx, Trotsky or Lenin. They are the answers one team gave to each and every question put to them on University Challenge. It looks like Ed Miliband and Eric Pickles are trying the same trick.
Ed wants to clamp down on electricity prices. Top Tories said this was bonkers. The lights would go out and we would all die. Eric didn’t get the memo. A week later he wants to slash the bills for leaseholders in council blocks. It’s exactly the same routine. Identify a pantomime villain and bash them about a bit. No matter what the problem is the answer is the same.
Of course I feel for leaseholders that get big bills. But you need to think twice before you buy a flat. It’s part of a block and that block needs to be kept in good order. You really are all in it together. The roof still needs fixing even if you are out of work. Building works are not cheap. You know that you will have to pay your fair share of the bill.
The gamble is that the value of the home will go up by a lot more than any of the costs of the work. That is the calculation you should do when you buy any property. This applies to all homes including those bought under the Right to Buy and Help to Buy.
The papers have been full of doom and gloom about energy price fixing. Is it a good idea to peg back the bills for council leaseholders?
Of course it will make councils look again at the bills. How much room for manoeuvre do they have? Most of them already go to some lengths to drive down tender prices. Will councils hold off from doing work to stay under the price cap? Is this safe? Would the HRA take the strain? You’ve got to love self financing. Councils are supposed to be in charge of their own money now. But Big Government tells them exactly what rents and service charges should apply. Just take me through this localism thing one more time.
You could say this just proves the case for stock transfer. But can we really have one set of rules for councils and another for associations. Some of the blocks are cheek by jowl. It is an unsustainable position. And how can you have price control for public sector leaseholders and not for private leaseholders? They are all in the same boat.
Eric has whizzed by Ed on the road to socialism. I can give you the correct Tory position. It’s caveat emptor. Let the buyer beware. That used to be the rule till politicians thought they could solve every problem. Just like Che Guevara, Marx, Trotsky or Lenin.
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