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New leasehold reform sees end of charges excessive

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The end of toxic leaseholds has been announced by the Government – much to the delight of long-suffering homeowners.

Housing minister Robert Jenrick said the new laws are being introduced to banish the ‘scandalous pitfalls of leasehold’ and ‘put fairness back at the heart of the housing system’.

The changes have been widely welcomed as good news for leaseholders, who have long endured issues such as doubling ground rent and extortionate costs to extend their leases.

New legislation: The end of toxic leasehold homes has been announced by the Government

New legislation: The end of toxic leasehold homes has been announced by the Government

WHAT IS A LEASEHOLD PROPERTY?

A leasehold property has some key differences compared to a freehold home.

If you buy a leasehold property, you will need to know about things such as ground rents and lease extensions.

Here we explain some of the terms you need to know:

1. Leasehold

Unlike a freeholder, as a leaseholder you do not own the land the property is built on. A leaseholder essentially rents the property on a lease for a number of years, often between 90 and 120 years but it can be as high as 999 years.  

2. Ground rents

Ground rent is the rent paid under the terms of a lease by the owner of a building to the owner of the land on which it is built. The amount paid depends on the terms of the lease.

3. Lease extensions

A lease extension refers to a legal agreement that extends the term of an existing lease.

4. Buying the freehold  

If you buy a freehold property, it means you owns it outright, including the land it is built on. You are responsible for maintaining your property and land, so you’ll need to budget for these costs.

If you’re a leaseholder, you may want to consider buying your freehold. There are pros and cons of doing this, as while you may end up having more control, there will also be more effort involved. More information on buying your freehold can be found here.

The changes being introduced by the Government will enable homeowners to extend their leases up to 990 years at zero ground rent.

Miles Robinson, of mortgage broker Trussle, said: ‘We welcome the news that homeowners will be given further rights, enabling them to extend leases up to 990 years at zero ground rent.

‘It’s a significant change which will put a stop to unnecessary charges, and will make owning and selling a home easier and fairer for millions of people.’

Katie Kendrick, of the National Leasehold Campaign, said: ‘For far too long leaseholders have been told that it is their own fault for signing these toxic agreements, but this announcement proves how flawed this system is and is the start of the end for leasehold. 

‘We are delighted that Government has committed to delivering these reforms in this Parliament and urge them to strongly reject the fierce lobbying and delaying tactics they will get from the sector determined to keep the leasehold gravy train running.’

In recent years, the pitfalls of leasehold have left many of those who own this type of property unable to sell their homes.

This is because lenders have been increasingly nervous about lending on leasehold homes due to the increasing costs associated with them and buyers have been put off too.

We take a look at the Government’s announcement and what it could ultimately mean for leaseholders.

Why has the Government decided to take action?

The Government said reform of the leasehold system was required to ‘end some of the worst practices faced by homeowners’.

It claims that the changes are part of the biggest reforms to English property law for 40 years, and will lead to a new system altogether.

It follows a Law Commission report last year that claimed the ‘medieval’ leasehold system was not working. It followed years of campaigning for change, particularly after the scandal of new-build houses sold as leasehold rather than freehold emerged.

Announcing the changes, the Government said: ‘Under the current law many people face high ground rents, which combined with a mortgage, can make it feel like they are paying rent on a property they own.’

The changes will aim to reduce this financial burden currently placed on many leaseholders.

How much will ground rents be under the new law?

The Government says any leaseholder who extends their lease will ‘no longer pay any ground rent’ to a freeholder.

Ground rents can currently run into hundreds if not thousands of pounds a year, and can increase sharply over time depending on the clause in the lease.

The Government has said it will reduce ground rents to zero because this will allow those who want to own their own home to do so ‘without cumbersome bureaucracy and additional unnecessary and unfair expenses’.

How much could this save leaseholders?

The changes could save leaseholders ‘thousands, to tens of thousands of pounds’, the Government has claimed.

Exactly how much has yet to be revealed but the housing minister has said that he wants to reduce the expense of being a leaseholder.

Mr Jenrick said: ‘We want to reinforce the security that home ownership brings by changing forever the way we own homes and end some of the worst practices faced by homeowners.’

Do the changes mean a longer lease extension?

Under the current rules, leaseholders of houses can only extend their lease once for 50 years with a ground rent.

At the same time, leaseholders of flats can extend as often as they wish at a zero ‘peppercorn’ ground rent for 90 years.

The changes mean leaseholders will be able to extend their lease to a new standard 990 years with a ground rent at zero.

What will be the cost of extending the lease or buying the freehold?

Many leaseholders seek to extend their lease or buy the freehold. 

This can be for a number of reasons, not least to gain more control of the management of the property or to make it more attractive to potential buyers (as lenders will not lend on shorter leases). 

Extending the lease is also a condition of reducing the ground rent to zero under the Government’s reforms.

However, extending the lease is something that leaseholders will have to pay to do.

You may decide to buy the freehold first before then extending the lease to take the freeholder out of the equation altogether in the future. You do not have to buy the freehold to extend your lease.

The Government has said that it will ‘cost less’ to extend the lease or buy the freehold than previously – and the cost will be calculated via a new online calculator.

Where can I find the online calculator to work out these costs?

The online calculator will help leaseholders work out how much it will cost to buy their freehold or extend their lease.

However, it will not be introduced until the changes become law, and so leaseholders will need to wait until then to find out the cost.

The current calculation includes elements such as the ‘marriage value’, which increases the cost.

The marriage value is the increase in the value of the property following the completion of the lease extension, reflecting the additional market value of the longer lease.

This element is being abolished as the Government has described it as a ‘prohibitive cost’ and wants to ensure that the calculation is ‘fairer, cheaper and more transparent’.

Is commonhold still an option?

The housing minister wants to increase the number of commonhold agreements, a little-known form of ownership that allows residents of apartment blocks to maintain it themselves or employ a maintenance firm to do it.

It would mean that if the company fails to do the job properly, the residents could sack them.

The Government is establishing a Commonhold Council to help encourage homeowners and the market to take up commonhold. 

When will the new law be introduced?

Leaseholders welcomed the news and called for the changes to be passed into law immediately.

Leaseholder Jim Iillingworth said: ‘I welcome the announcement. The Government has proved with Covid and Brexit that it can pass legislation in hours and days. Why should leasehold reforms take any longer?’

In reality, the timetable is likely to take months and could possibly run into next year.

Mr Hayward, of Propertymark, explained: ‘Laws will be introduced when the parliamentary timetable will allow. But they will want to move soon on this ahead of the next General Election to appeal to the electorate.’  

Leasehold expert Bernie Wales, of BW Residential, said: ‘The changes are good news for leaseholders. Leaseholders have waited a long time for them and let’s hope the Government will bring them into law sooner rather than later.’

The Government has confirmed that legislation will be brought forward in the upcoming session of Parliament to set future ground rents to zero. This is the first part of seminal two-part reforming legislation in this Parliament.

How many people will be affected by the new law?

Nearly 4.5million leaseholders could be ‘tens of thousands of pounds’ better off, according to the Government.

Will ground rents also be reduced on retirement homes?

The changes will include measures to protect those living in retirement leasehold properties, which are specifically built for older people.

The Government says buyers of these homes will now have the same rights as other homeowners.

However, Mr Hayward added: ‘While we welcome the Government’s initiative to reduce ground rents to zero for all new retirement properties, we would argue this needs to be extended to all retirement properties to create a level playing field.’

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Green mortgages may leave owners of older homes unable to sell

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Estate agents warn owners of older homes, rural houses and listed properties could struggle to sell under green mortgage plans

  • Boris Johnson has unveiled his plans for turning Britain green by 2050 
  • The plans include proposals on how to make the housing stock greener 
  • The plans would see lenders disclose the energy performance of properties










Homeowners living in older, rural and even listed properties risk being unable to sell if strict green finance targets are introduced, estate agents have warned.

The warning comes after Boris Johnson unveiled his plan for turning Britain green by 2050 this week, with mortgage lenders having targets for the energy performance of properties in their portfolio.

A body that represents estate agents across Britain claimed that the property market could be distorted as a result of the measures and called for Britain’s historic housing stock to be taken into account.

Boris Johnson revealed proposals on how to make the housing stock greener this week

Boris Johnson revealed proposals on how to make the housing stock greener this week

Timothy Douglas, of Propertymark, said: ‘Incentivising green improvements to properties via lending creates risks of trapping homeowners with older properties, those who live in rural areas, listed buildings or conservation areas, making their homes difficult to sell and therefore reducing the value.’

Propertymark said that those living in older properties could be left with homes that they could not sell if buyers were unable to secure finance on them due to their lower energy efficiencies.

The effect would be likely to be felt more by less wealthy owners, as deep-pocketed buyers would be more able to overlook mortgage restrictions and high-end older homes would continue to be desirable.

Mr Douglas said: ‘The use of targets could distort the market and sway lenders towards preferential, newer homes in order to improve the rating of their portfolio.

‘Stopping a large portion of housing stock from being able to enter the market could cause havoc for home buying and selling as well as the wider economy.’ 

He added that improving the energy efficiency of homes should be reliant on consumer choice and not something enforced by mortgage lenders, with all the knock-on effects this could entail.

He said: ‘We would be concerned if lenders raise rates and limit products because fundamentally, improving the energy performance of a property is reliant on consumer choice and it is not the core business of mortgage lenders.’

Mark Harris, of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘The green agenda is not new but there is increasing impetus behind it. There are more green mortgage products aimed at those purchasing more energy-efficient properties – A-C rated, and not just from specialist lenders but the high street banks too.

‘However, there is a real danger that green initiatives could create the next round of mortgage prisoners if homeowners are trapped in older homes that can’t be improved, so they can’t move because they can’t sell them on.

‘Without changes or improvements, lenders may restrict lending to lower loan-to-values, higher pricing, or not lend at all. This could penalise those who are unable to adapt to or adopt new efficient technologies economically.’

A UK Finance spokesperson said: ‘Greening our housing stock is vital if we are to meet our climate change obligations and banks and finance providers are committed to helping achieve this goal and making sure consumers are not left behind.’

Ways to boost energy efficiency  

Propertymark recommends three measures to improve the energy efficiency of homes without negatively impacting the housing market.

1. Improvements linked to an EPC

These include linking a plan for energy efficiency improvements to the recommendations on a property’s Energy Performance Certificate.

It could demonstrate the ‘most suitable route’ to a warmer home, regulatory compliance and zero carbon, according to Propertymark.

2. Tax breaks

It also recommends using tax breaks to incentivise homeowners to finance energy efficiency improvements.

For example, these could include making energy improvements exempt from VAT or offering lower rates of council tax for homes that have been made more energy efficient.

3. Adjustable tax rates

An adjustable rate of property tax that is tied to energy performance is also being recommended by Propertymark.

This could be done in two ways, it suggested. First, by applying the adjustment as a reduction on more energy-efficient properties. And second by offering rebates to buyers if energy efficiency improvements are made to less efficient properties within a certain time period after purchase.

Propertymark said that by linking energy performance with property taxes, this could help introduce increased saleability for more energy-efficient properties. In addition, it suggested that improvements would become standard for homeowners seeking costs and improve the desirability of their homes.

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Johnson rules out face masks as UK’s daily Covid cases rise above 50,000

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Daily coronavirus cases in Britain have risen above 50,000 for the first time since July, but Boris Johnson said he will not bring back compulsory face coverings or introduce vaccine passports.

Speaking in Northern Ireland, the prime minister said his government was holding firm to its policy of no legal restrictions introduced in July, but was watching the numbers carefully.

“The numbers of infections are high but we are within the parameters of what the predictions were,” he said. “We are sticking with our plan.”

Mr Johnson acknowledged the “patchiness” of Britain’s vaccination programme, urging people to come forward for their booster jabs as soon as they are invited to do so. But Labour leader Keir Starmer said the government should beef up the programme, ensure that more children were vaccinated and aim to deliver half a million jabs a day.

“The government said that the vaccine would be the security wall against the virus and now the government is letting that wall crumble,” he said.

“We’ve seen those that most need it not able to get the jab they need. Only, I think, 17 per cent of children have got the vaccine. And the booster programme has slowed down so much that at this rate we’re not going to complete it until spring of next year. So the government needs to change these, it needs to get a grip. I think it needs to drive those numbers up to at least 500,000 vaccines a day.”

Vaccine passports

The British Medical Association (BMA) accused the government of “wilful negligence” in not bringing back some restrictions, and of failing to learn the lessons of a parliamentary report last week about its handling of the pandemic. The association’s chairman, Chaand Nagpaul, said doctors could say categorically that it was time to bring back compulsory face masks and to introduce vaccine passports.

“By the health secretary’s own admission we could soon see 100,000 cases a day, and we now have the same number of weekly Covid deaths as we had during March, when the country was in lockdown,” he said.

“It is, therefore, incredibly concerning that he is not willing to take immediate action to save lives and protect the NHS. ”

Health secretary Sajid Javid warned this week that some restrictions could be introduced if the public failed to exercise caution and to take up vaccination offers. He acknowledged that Conservative MPs could show an example by wearing masks in the House of Commons, but house leader Jacob Rees-Mogg on Thursday rejected the suggestion.

Crowded spaces

“There is no advice to wear face masks in workplaces. The advice on crowded spaces is with crowded spaces with people that you don’t know. We on this side know each other,” he told the SNP’s Pete Wishart.

“Now, it may be that he doesn’t like mixing with his own side, wants to keep himself in his personal bubble. He may find the other members of the SNP – who I normally find extraordinarily charming…but we on this side have a more convivial fraternal spirit, and for our calling the guidance of her majesty’s government.”

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Britney Spears and fiancé Sam Asghari are spotted house hunting at Jeffree Star’s mansion

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Britney Spears and fiancé Sam Asghari have been spotted house hunting – and the $16.5million mansion in the upscale Hidden Hills neighborhood in Calabasas they’re considering belongs to none other than makeup mogul Jeffree Star. 

Britney continues to make strides in regaining her freedom and was seen by DailyMail.com Tuesday arriving at the private entrance to the Hidden Hills estate, only accessible to its A-list residents, including Drake, The Kardashians and Miley Cyrus

Britney, 39, drove her white Mercedes-Benz to the gates while 27-year-old Sam, dressed in short camo shorts and and a tight-fitted blue t-shirt, got out of the car and went to the gatehouse. 

They were greeted by a real estate agent who gave them access, arriving at the property at 2pm and viewing the house for about 35 minutes.

The house, purchased by Jeffree in 2019 for $14.6 million, has seven bedrooms, 13 bathrooms and boasts sweeping views of the Southern California hills. 

DailyMail.com spotted Britney Spears and fiancé Sam Asghari house hunting Tuesday in the upscale Hidden Hills neighborhood in Calabasas, California

DailyMail.com spotted Britney Spears and fiancé Sam Asghari house hunting Tuesday in the upscale Hidden Hills neighborhood in Calabasas, California

Sam, dressed in short camo shorts and and a tight-fitted blue t-shirt, got out of the car and went to the gatehouse

Sam, dressed in short camo shorts and and a tight-fitted blue t-shirt, got out of the car and went to the gatehouse

The house, purchased by Jeffree in 2019 for $14.6 million, has seven bedrooms, 13 Bathrooms and boasts sweeping views of the Southern California hills

The house, purchased by Jeffree in 2019 for $14.6 million, has seven bedrooms, 13 Bathrooms and boasts sweeping views of the Southern California hills

They were greeted by a Real Estate Agent who gave them access, arriving at the property at 2pm and viewing the house for 35 minutes

They were greeted by a Real Estate Agent who gave them access, arriving at the property at 2pm and viewing the house for 35 minutes

Britney drove her white Mercedes-Benz to the gates while Sam, dressed in short camo shorts and and a tight-fitted blue t-shirt, got out of the car and went to the gatehouse

Britney drove her white Mercedes-Benz to the gates while Sam, dressed in short camo shorts and and a tight-fitted blue t-shirt, got out of the car and went to the gatehouse

Britney drove her white Mercedes-Benz to the gates while Sam, dressed in short camo shorts and and a tight-fitted blue t-shirt, got out of the car and went to the gatehouse

Sam, 27, has been by Britney's side throughout her conservatorship battle and as her soon-to-be husband it's only right he accompany her on her house hunting adventures

Sam, 27, has been by Britney’s side throughout her conservatorship battle and as her soon-to-be husband it’s only right he accompany her on her house hunting adventures 

The engaged couple were seen arriving at the private entrance to the Hidden Hills estate only accessible to its A-list residents, including Drake, The Kardashians, Miley Cyrus and Jennifer Lopez

The engaged couple were seen arriving at the private entrance to the Hidden Hills estate only accessible to its A-list residents, including Drake, The Kardashians, Miley Cyrus and Jennifer Lopez

The house hunting comes days after Britney wrote a scathing Instagram caption, in which she told her relatives they should be worried if she ever gives an interview

The house hunting comes days after Britney wrote a scathing Instagram caption, in which she told her relatives they should be worried if she ever gives an interview

The Jeffree Star Cosmetics founder listed his mansion in July this year with plans to move to Wyoming full-time. 

Jeffree Star listed his mansion in July this year with plans to move to Wyoming full-time

Jeffree Star listed his mansion in July this year with plans to move to Wyoming full-time

The YouTuber has had a career embroiled in controversy and made the move to his 70-acre ranch in Wyoming, where he’d already been living part-time, to focus on his mental health.  

‘I need to get away from California and its day-to-day atmosphere,’ he said in a YouTube video. ‘I think I’ve gotten all that I can out of this state.’ 

And while he’s ready to start anew, so is Britney, after her father Jamie was removed as conservator of her multimillion dollar estate  last month. 

According to the listing, the 21,000sqft French Normandy Estate sits on 2.82 acres and is nestled at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac.  

The home boasts ‘superior quality amenities throughout’ which include a home theater with custom seating, large game room with wet bar, two story gym with steam & sauna, complete home spa, and a wine tasting room & refrigerated wine cellar. 

According to the listing, the 21,000 square foot French Normandy Estate sits on 2.82 acres and is nestled at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac

According to the listing, the 21,000 square foot French Normandy Estate sits on 2.82 acres and is nestled at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac

Outside, the grounds feature a sparkling pool, spa, fire pit, two barbecue centers and two covered patios

Outside, the grounds feature a sparkling pool, spa, fire pit, two barbecue centers and two covered patios

A sunken outdoor living room with a fire pit in the middle is surrounded by the luxurious pool and fits at least a dozen guests

A sunken outdoor living room with a fire pit in the middle is surrounded by the luxurious pool and fits at least a dozen guests

The home boasts a  large gourmet kitchen with two islands that opens to the family room, two beautiful custom offices, large game room with wet bar, craft room, home automation system, safe room

The home boasts a  large gourmet kitchen with two islands that opens to the family room, two beautiful custom offices, large game room with wet bar, craft room, home automation system, safe room

The home movie theater is beyond and impressive and perfect for entertaining guests who visit Britney and Sam

The home movie theater is beyond and impressive and perfect for entertaining guests who visit Britney and Sam 

The home has an expansive wine cellar with a two-seater table for any wine-loving connoisseurs to enjoy

The home has an expansive wine cellar with a two-seater table for any wine-loving connoisseurs to enjoy 

The listing states, ‘Additional features include a large gourmet kitchen with two islands that opens to the family room, two beautiful custom offices, large game room with wet bar, craft room, home automation system, safe room, and sculptural glass elevator.’

The main house has five bedroom suits, including the luxurious master suite, perfect for Britney and her new fiancé. 

Outside, the grounds feature a sparkling pool, spa, fire pit, two barbecue centers and two covered patios. 

The house hunting comes days after Britney wrote a scathing Instagram caption, in which she told her relatives they should be worried if she ever gives an interview.

As she continues to adjust to life as a free woman, the star sent a clear message to those who profited from her ‘abusive’ conservatorship, controlled by her father Jamie, for the past 13 years. 

‘Lord have mercy on my family’s souls if I ever do an interview!!!’ she told her more than 35.4 million Instagram followers on Friday. 

The huge mansion even has a sculptural glass elevator to take you between floors

The huge mansion even has a sculptural glass elevator to take you between floors 

The home also offers a 4,700-square-foot underground garage for more than seven cars

The home also offers a 4,700-square-foot underground garage for more than seven cars

The home boasts ‘superior quality & amenities throughout’ which include a home theater with custom seating, large game room with wet bar, two story gym with steam & sauna, complete home spa, and a wine tasting room & refrigerated wine cellar

Huge doors from an elegant seating area lead out into the pool area for indoor and outdoor fun

Huge doors from an elegant seating area lead out into the pool area for indoor and outdoor fun 

An entire area is dedicated to gaming, with classic gaming machines seen in an elegant room with an oversized chandelier

An entire area is dedicated to gaming, with classic gaming machines seen in an elegant room with an oversized chandelier 

If Britney moves to the estate in Hidden Hills, she'll be neighbors with other A-listers the likes of Drake, The Kardashians and Miley Cyrus

If Britney moves to the estate in Hidden Hills, she’ll be neighbors with other A-listers the likes of Drake, The Kardashians and Miley Cyrus 

For more than a year, Britney has been calling for her father to be fired as her conservator and for an end to the conservatorship which she's called 'abusive'

For more than a year, Britney has been calling for her father to be fired as her conservator and for an end to the conservatorship which she’s called ‘abusive’

In addition to stating she is ‘staying clear’ of the entertainment business for now, Britney confessed navigating her independence has been hard. 

‘I’ll just be honest and say I’ve waited so long to be free from the situation I’m in… and now that it’s here I’m scared to do anything because I’m afraid I’ll make a mistake!!’ she said.    

For more than a year, Britney has been calling for her father to be fired as her conservator and for an end to the conservatorship which she’s called ‘abusive.’

She has said that she’s ‘afraid ‘ of her dad and declared that she would not perform again until he was no longer in charge of the conservatorship he’s been overseeing since her much-publicized breakdown in 2008.

One of her most heart-wrenching revelations came during a tearful phone appearance at Judge Penny’s court last June when she said that she wanted to have a baby with her fiancé, personal trainer Sam Asghari, but the strict conservatorship wouldn’t allow her to remove her IUD birth control.

‘I feel ganged up on and bullied and alone,’ Britney told the court during that emotional statement. ‘I just want my life back.’

She also told the judge that she felt ‘enslaved’ by her dad, whom she, added, ‘should be in jail.’

Britney and Sam are looking forward to starting their lives together now that her father Jamie has been removed as conservator of her estate

Sam has spoken out about Britney's conservatorship and denounced her father Jamie's right to control his pop star daughter

Britney and Sam are looking forward to starting their lives together now that her father Jamie has been removed as conservator of her estate  

For more than a year, Britney has been calling for her father to be fired as her conservator and for an end to the conservatorship which she's called 'abusive'

For more than a year, Britney has been calling for her father to be fired as her conservator and for an end to the conservatorship which she’s called ‘abusive’

Fans hold signs that read 'Fry Jamie Fry' and 'I want my life back' outside of the courtroom last month as Jamie was removed as her conservator

Fans hold signs that read ‘Fry Jamie Fry’ and ‘I want my life back’ outside of the courtroom last month as Jamie was removed as her conservator 

Last year, at her father’s request, the conservatorship (the one dealing with Britney’s personal affairs, not the conservatorship controlling her finances) was temporarily transferred from Jamie to her long-time caregiver Jodi Montgomery.

While he blamed his stepping down on health issues, Jamie’s decision came amid accusations that he had gotten into an altercation with Britney’s then 14 year-old son Sean Preston, now 16.

Kevin Federline – Britney’s ex and the father of Sean and his brother Jayden James, 15 – made a police report and took out a restraining order against his former father-in-law after the incident in which, reportedly, a ‘very angry’ Jamie broke down the door of a room Sean had locked himself in and ‘shook’ the frightened teen.

Finally last month, a judge  suspended Jamie as the conservator of Britney’s personal life and $60 million estate after 13 years, appointing accountant John Zabel as a temporary conservator. 

The suspension comes as allegations of his mistreatment of his daughter – including secretly recording her calls and messages – have ramped up the furor over his conservatorship.

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