The UK government has confirmed that a bill containing further reforms to the leasehold system will be introduced in the upcoming session of parliament.
In February, the levelling up secretary, Michael Gove, stated that legislation aimed at fundamentally reforming the leasehold system would be included in the King’s speech.
In a recent Lords debate, the levelling up minister, Baroness Scott of Bybrook, indicated that the upcoming leasehold bill is complex and will not be available in time for pre-legislative scrutiny. The government had previously announced that the leasehold reforms would be rolled out in two parts in 2021.
The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act, which came into force last June, ended ground rents for new, qualifying long residential leasehold properties in England and Wales. The upcoming leasehold bill is expected to address enfranchisement, which involves the process of acquiring the freehold or extending the lease of a property. Baroness Scott has stated that the government is dedicated to simplifying and reducing the cost of the enfranchisement process.
Read our previous blog: Reform of Ground rents passed into Legislation
The most recent debate – 2nd May 2023 – included a question from Lord Kennedy of Southwark regarding the Building Safety Act and its impact on leaseholder protections. It was noted that the Act did not safeguard lease extensions in blocks of flats granted after February 14, 2022. The government is currently seeking a legislative solution to this issue. In the meantime, leaseholders are advised to seek legal advice before extending or varying their lease and to negotiate with landlords to include similar protections as contractual terms.
Additionally, the government plans to respond to the Law Commission’s proposal to revitalise commonhold ownership as an alternative to leasehold ownership in the future.
Baroness Thornhill asked if the government’s reforms will address the ‘long, off-putting, expensive, complex process’ of going to the first-tier tribunal as the final arbiter of leasehold disputes.
Scott said the government would look at the tribunal issue when the leaseholders and private renters reform bills arrive.
Rose & Rose Solicitors Leasehold Solicitors
Under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967, you have the right to request that the freeholder sell you the freehold of your leasehold house. However, several matters should be considered, including points raised in this article. We can assist you with this process, helping you assess if you meet the qualifications outlined in the Act and guiding you in this complex area of law.
Please get in touch with one of our specialist lease extension and freehold acquisition solicitors, Ryan Senior & Nick Roots, to discuss the best way forward for you. We will provide you with further and specific advice tailored to your circumstances.
This blog post is not intended to be taken as advice or acted upon. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our team of solicitors.