Leasehld reform: what happens next?
In July 2020, the Law Commission, which has been looking into leasehold reform for the government, published its recommendations for changes to the way the existing leasehold system works. The proposed reforms have implications for everyone living in a leasehold flat and will impact the way flats are bought, owned and managed.
Since publication of the three Law Commission reports, into leasehold enfranchisement (buying your freehold or extending your lease) commonhold and Right to Manage, there has been no feedback from the Government – which, to be fair, has had other issues on its mind. However, in frustration at the lack of response and in an attempt to move the work forward, the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP) has now written to Housing Minister, Christopher Pincher MP calling for an update.
ALEP members – who are lawyers and valuers specialising in leasehold – are overwhelmingly in favour of reform. However, in a recent survey only 12% said they thought changes would be brought forward by government within the next three years. The majority (56%) think reform will take three to five years and more than a quarter of members are even less optimistic - saying reforms could be five to ten years away.
For many leaseholders this timeframe is both frustrating and unhelpful. But within the current system, by engaging the help of a specialist property professional, leaseholders can, with relative ease, already extend their lease, buy their freehold or use their legal Right to Manage to take on responsibility for the operation of their own block.
There are a number of pitfalls in the existing legislation which can make the process complex and this is what the reforms hope to fix. But if you and/or your fellow leaseholders wish to pursue one or other of these routes, then please do contact us at Ringley. We have years of experience of guiding flat owners through all these aspects of leasehold ownership and our service is easy to access - even during lockdown. We also have some helpful e-Books on our website that you may find useful.
Author : Maryanne Bowring