Radical leasehold reform programme recommended by Law Commission

Leaseholders will find it easier, quicker and MUCH cheaper to acquire their property's freehold if recommendations from the Law Commission become law.

leasehold reform

An historic and radical set of leasehold reforms has been proposed by the Law Commission, the official body that advises government on legal reform in England and Wales including proposals to dramatically reduce the costs of freehold acquisition.

This focusses on ideas to help leaseholders buy their freehold more easily, part of a wider attempt by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to reform leaseholds, including a recent decision to ban the sale of leasehold houses.

The Law Commission’s proposals followed a demonstration outside parliament (pictured, above) on Wednesday calling for the government to end the ‘leasehold scandal’. It was attended by several MPs including leasehold campaigner Peter Bottomley and shadow housing minister John Healey.

The key elements of the Law Commission’s proposals include clearing away many of the legal and contractual complications that leaseholders face when attempting to buy a freehold; making it easier for lessees to collectively buy a freehold; and for leaseholders to more easily extend their terms.

“Enfranchisement offers a route out of leasehold but the law is failing home owners: it’s complex and expensive, and leads to unnecessary conflict, costs and delay,” says Professor Nick Hopkins (pictured) of the Law Commission.

But most controversially, it has also suggested that the cost of freehold acquisition should be dramatically reduced for leaseholders.

Leasehold reform

The commission suggests several ways this could be included by varying the different ways the cost of ‘enfranchisement’ are calculated, the most radical of which would see the sums paid by leaseholders drop from tens of thousand to just a few by using a ground rent multiplier method.

These measure are all ideas at the moment – the Law Commission will now conduct a consultation before then putting forward its final legislative proposals to government next year.

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