BOLTON leaseholders trapped in "feudal" contracts have voiced their concerns to the shadow housing minister.

The national scandal, described as "PPI on steroids", has hit the borough hard as two of its constituencies are among the top 10 in the country for leasehold sales.

Labour MP John Healey accused the government of not doing enough to tackle the problem which leaves residents trapped in "unfair" contracts for homes they do not own.

He said: "What we're talking about is a property system that dates back to the middle ages. It will need battling through parliament and the courts."

Jo Darbyshire, from Horwich, set up the National Leasehold Campaign which now has 14,000 members.

When she bought her house in Silver Birch Close on leasehold nearly nine years ago, she was told she could buy the freehold for £5,000. Now, it could cost ten times as much, because the land has been sold.

She said: "We got a letter to say we should pay the ground rent to somebody else but what this really means is that they sold the freehold onto one of these off-shore shell companies."

The aggrieved residents say they were mis-sold the leasehold contracts locking them into paying hundreds of pounds in ground rents which are set to double after ten years.

They have to pay thousands to make any changes to their homes and no banks are willing to lend on their properties which means the leaseholders cannot sell their houses.

Teacher Madeleine Brierley bought her house in the Evergreen Avenue estate 11 years ago.

She said: “These are our homes. This is the roof over our heads. I’m a single parent, I worked hard. I brought up my son on my own. I’ve done all that hoping when I pop my clogs, my son is going to be able to capitalise on my investment. My house is worth nothing on the market. Nothing.”

Bolton Council's executive cabinet member for housing, Cllr Toby Hewitt, defended the government.

He said: “It’s one of those old legal conventions of English common law. I think the government is trying to take action on a legacy problem. People just want a fairer and transparent way of doing it."

MP James Brokenshire said: “Since becoming Communities Secretary, I have repeatedly made clear my ambition to end those exploitative and unfair leasehold arrangements that have no place in a modern housing market."

The Competition and Markets Authority has launched an investigation into leasehold practises.

Mr Healey said that Labour would release their action plan next month.