LLANELLI’S MP Nia Griffith has highlighted the growing problem of property developers charging extortionate estate fees to owners of new freehold houses.
She is calling for these fees to be regulated and capped, and for homeowners to have new powers to challenge developers.
Ms Griffith explained: “In the past there have been problems with landlords charging their tenants extortionate maintenance fees or service charges, but now we are also seeing people who have bought freehold properties being charged similar fees by the property developers.
“Increasingly, predatory property developers are pushing through planning applications and then looking for any opportunity to squeeze more money out of the housing they have built at the expense of the new residents.
“Charging freeholders extortionate estate fees is just one aspect of this which has become a problem on many recently-built estates in Llanelli town.
“Many of the developers also contract out the fee-setting and maintenance of shared spaces to separate management companies who have been known to hike the fees dramatically, with very little notice or justification. At the moment, these estate fees are unregulated and there is no cap.
“There are also very few powers for homeowners to challenge the fees or change suppliers.
“This needs to change. I’ve been campaigning with Labour colleagues in Parliament to get these estate fees regulated so that property developers and management companies cannot continue to overcharge people who have saved for a home.”
Ms Griffith attended an event to highlight this issue in Parliament towards the end of last year.
It was organised by the Homeowners Rights Network (HorNet) and Labour MP Helen Goodman, who presented a Ten Minute Rule Bill which aimed to regulate estate fees.
In her speech presenting the Bill, Ms Goodman referred to estate maintenance fees as a “private new build tax.”