“Persimmon faces wave of claims that it mis-sold properties with toxic leaseholds”

“Britain’s most profitable housebuilder faces a flood of claims that it mis-sold toxic leasehold properties.

Persimmon made ‘deliberate misrepresentations’ when selling homes on leases, MPs and families say.

They are calling on the developer, which made a £1.1billion profit last year and handed former boss Jeff Fairburn a bonus of £75million, to surrender full ownership of the properties to compensate buyers said to have been misled.

The demands erupted after Persimmon backed down in a court battle over allegations of mis-selling.

In an out-of-court settlement reached last month with Cardiff council, Persimmon agreed to give leaseholders in the St Edeyrns development outright ownership of their properties as a ‘goodwill gesture’.

The defeat has been seized on by campaigners, who say leaseholders across the UK should get similar compensation.

And it comes as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) probes claims that housebuilders may have mis-sold leases.

Katie Kendrick, of the National Leasehold Campaign, said: ‘We are hopeful that the CMA and others can now use this example to build a future mis-selling case on behalf of leaseholders.’

A lease grants the right to live in a property for an agreed period, not ownership of it outright. Leaseholders can face extortionate ground rents and fees to make small changes.

The Cardiff case has led leaseholders in Plymouth and Cheltenham to demand they get similar treatment.

Sir Gary Streeter, Tory MP for South West Devon, has warned Persimmon that he will report it to trading standards, complain to ministers and shame it in Parliament if it does not agree.

Persimmon has so far rejected suggestions it should offer similar deals.

A spokesman last night said of the Cardiff case: ‘We firmly dispute the fact that the customers were not aware the properties were being sold on a leasehold basis.’ “