New houses are to be sold freehold in future to end the leasehold rip-off. Leases mean homeowners can face ground rent charges of up to £700 a year and see little in return. Now any new leases will have ground rents capped at £10. Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said: “Unfair ground rents can turn a homeowner’s dream into a nightmare. “And it makes properties harder to sell. That’s why I’m taking concrete action.” Leases usually apply to flats with shared spaces but developers have increasingly brought them in for houses. It means landlords can hike rents to thousands of pounds a year and even charge for home improvements or having a pet. The only exceptions under the new system are likely to be community housing and those in shared ownership.