Companies should be called to justify lease provisions, says Peter Bottomley

Companies which cash in on leases sold to them by major housebuilders should be “given the Philip Green treatment” and made to explain themselves before Parliament, a senior MP has argued.

Peter Bottomley, MP for Worthing West and a minister in the Thatcher governments of the 1980s, told Building there was every chance MPs would summon representatives of relevant companies to justify practices such as soaring ground rents charged to consumers when the leases on their properties were sold on by developers.

Bottomley’s reference to retail tycoon Philip Green harks back to the former owner of BHS being called before the work and pensions committee last year, where he was grilled by MPs over the collapse of the retail giant and the plight of the chain’s existing employees and pensioners.

“Some companies are already taking reputational advice, PR advice and indeed ethical advice, over the [leasehold] issue,” Bottomley said.

Bottomley said the government’s proposals on leaseholds, outlined on Tuesday, were a step in the right direction.

On Tuesday Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, announced an eight-week consultation on government plans to ban leaseholds on new-build houses and scrap ground rent being charged on new flats.