Housing minister James Brokenshire made several high-profile announcements yesterday during his keynote speech at the Chartered Institute of Housing’s annual conference in Manchester including leasehold sales.
But it also included significant announcements on ground rents, Help to Buy as well as leasehold management.
The most important of these for estate agents is that Brokenshire wants to see the sales of leasehold properties in managed blocks speeded up.
“Freeholders and managing agents have been able to charge what they want – and take as long as they want – to provide leaseholders with the information they need to sell their home,” he said.
“This slows down sales and affects property chains and has to stop.
“For that reason, we will be setting a time limit of 15 working days and a maximum fee of £200 plus VAT.
Brokenshire also revealed plans to reduce the amount freeholders can change leaseholders in ground rent each year to zero, with no exclusions for retirement home builders, who had been lobbying to stop such a measure.
“With new ground rents set to zero, and the Law Commission reviewing the process of easing enfranchisement and helping leaseholder empowerment through right to manage and commonhold tenure, this adds up to a devastating assault on speculations in residential freeholds,” says Sebastian O’Kelly of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership.
Brokenshire also confirmed that he is to vary the contracts the government has with house builders in its Help to Buy Scheme to stop them selling leasehold houses.
As we have reported separately, Brokenshire also announced the introduction of a national tenant deposit passporting system.
Read his speech in full.