Gary Streeter, Conservative MP for South West Devon, called on the firm to give the freehold titles to homeowners who have bought properties in the Saltram Meadow and Hartford Mews developments, according to reports in the Plymouth Herald.
In a letter to the firm, the MP said that some of the properties were sold based on “a blatant lie,” with buyers alleging that they had been told parliament required all new houses to be sold leasehold.
The MP highlighted other dubious claims that the buyers reported being told by Persimmon’s sales team, including that the freehold could be purchased in a couple of years for a few hundred pounds, that there was no real difference between a 999-year lease and freehold and that the whole estate would be leasehold.
Streeter called on the housebuilder to transfer the freehold reversion of each property on the two estates “without fee or costs,” within the next fortnight.
Failure to do so would see him refer the matter to local Trading Standards authorities, while he also says he will write to the Housing Minister to urge that no further Help to Buy support be tendered on Persimmon homes until the matter is resolved.
He added: “As soon as parliament re-assembles, I will call for a debate at Westminster to highlight this mis-selling in my constituency to ministers and to broadcast it to a wider audience,” — unless the freeholds are handed over.
Last month Persimmon agreed to give the freeholds to leaseholders at the St Edeyrns development in Cardiff in an out-of-court settlement, in a case that was being pursued by Cardiff council.
Buyers knew what they were paying for
A spokesperson for Persimmon Homes said: “All customers buying leasehold properties are informed by the sales team at the time of purchase the properties are leasehold and not freehold.
“During any conveyancing process the buyers’ solicitors identify all the relevant legal conditions and covenants relating to purchase.
“Any questions or concerns raised by customers would have been answered fully. For this reason Persimmon Homes will not be transferring the leaseholds free of charge.
“We are happy to meet individual customers to talk through any issues that they may have regarding leasehold. Customers should contact their local offices and an appointment will be arranged with the management team on site on an individual basis.”