The BBC has, it seems, picked up on the recent trend for developers to sell long leasehold rather than freehold houses and to pass the freehold interests on to investment companies to collect the ground rents.

Whilst the people in this article clearly don't own what they thought they were buying it does beg the question as to what their solicitors were doing when they helped to purchase the properties. Perhaps the clue is in the article though:

 "But nowhere on Bellway's website is this system made clear to potential buyers, and Katie feels these facts were not made clear to her. She also says the solicitor - recommended to her by Bellway - made no mention of this possibility either."

Whilst conveyancing has become highly commoditised and price seems to trump all, you do get what you pay for. New build leasehold houses are not the norm and they should not be purchased without understanding the ramifications. Any truly independent and properly qualified conveyancer will be able to tell you as much.