ABOUT GET COMMONHOLD DONE
Dermot Mckibbin has set up this site. It is intended to promote discussion and raise awareness amongst progressive opinion about the need for reform of the medieval leasehold system in England and Wales. The leasehold tenure has been abolished in nearly all the English-speaking world including Scotland. The site will occasionally cover other housing issues such as the reform of the private rented sector.
Dermot is a member of the successful National Leasehold Campaign Facebook page and a supporter of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership Group. He does not seek to usurp their leadership role in the leasehold reform campaign. He intends to support and complement their work. He would encourage all those interested in leasehold reform to join the National Leasehold Campaign and to sign up for the excellent newsletters of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership Group.
Dermot believes that the solution to the injustices of the leasehold system is to adopt the Commonhold Tenure. This would allow people to manage blocks of flats in accordance with their wishes. The leasehold system needs to be abolished and not just polished up at the edges. He would like to to see the shared ownership product reformed by the Law Commission in consultation with shared owners themselves and relevant partners.
Dermot worked for 20 years for the London Borough of Greenwich as a housing advice team leader, tenancy relations officer and empty property officer. He was Chair of the Association of Tenancy Relations officers. He lead a successful campaign to ensure that the then Office of Fair Trading including residential tenancies in its consumer enforcement work. This resulted in the removal of unfair contract terms from tenancy agreements for private and council tenants.
Dermot has been writing about leasehold reform for the progressive housing blog, redbrick since 2016. He was a member of the now defunct Campaign for the Abolition of Residential Leases. He campaigned with the late Nigel Wilkins on leasehold reform.
Dermot was employed as a housing adviser in South East London by Greenwich Housing Rights. He appeared regularly as a duty adviser in local county courts to represent homeowners and tenants at possession hearings. This included so-called “shared owners “who were being evicted either by mortgage lenders or housing associations. The latter usually relied on ground 8 which is a mandatory ground for possession.
He was a leaseholder with Lewisham Council and then Phoenix Community Housing Association after a housing stock transfer. He organised a group challenge to a major works service charge bill. This was originally for £9,000 and then increased to £23,000 due to “unforeseen works”. The tribunal reduced the bills by £3000 for his block but confirmed other bills of £30,000 in other blocks. For the decision see this link: https://noname861-my.sharepoint.com/personal/dermot_dermotmckibbin_com/Documents/blog/leaseholddecisiondermotmckibbin.pdf
Dermot chaired the leasehold forum for Phoenix Housing Association and sat on the Phoenix Residents Group until they were both abolished by the Association. He persuaded Lewisham Council and the Association to honour a promise made during the stock transfer to set up a VAT shelter. This saved the Association and their leaseholders thousands of pounds.
He was a Labour Councillor in Lewisham from 1986 to 1990. He is a member of the Labour Party and the Co-op Party. He is a member of several Co-Operatives including Lewisham and Bromley Credit Union. He is a member of the Legal Action Group, the Society of Labour Lawyers, the Labour Housing Group and the Copers Cope Residents Association.
He has a law degree and a postgraduate diploma in housing law and policy. He is not legally qualified. He is currently retired. Any information contained on this website is not a substitute for professional legal advice from a solicitor.