Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill – Thoughts from the Industry

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill has become law with the Act making it easier and cheaper for leaseholders to buy their freehold, increase standard lease extension terms to 990 years for houses and flats, and provide greater transparency over service charges. The Act will also remove barriers for leaseholders to challenge their landlords’ unreasonable charges at Tribunal. Here are some thoughts from within the property industry.

Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Propertymark comments:

“The recently passed leasehold legislation is far from perfect, but it is the start of reform to outdated legislation that was not fit for purpose.

“Once implemented the new laws will make it more commonplace to extend a lease and information about leasehold property will be made more transparent, which will make buying, selling and renting leasehold property easier.

“However, the legislation is a missed opportunity to tackle some key issues. Propertymark argued that the legislation needed to go further to incorporate the recommendations for the Regulation of Property Agents. At a time where building safety regulations have increased and become more complex, it is shortsighted that policy makers were unwilling to see the benefit to consumers of qualifying and licensing the competency of those who work in the property sector.”

 

Robert Poole, Director of Glide (part of Leaders Romans Group) said:

“For years, the leasehold system has been a topic of contention, leaving homeowners and managers of blocks of flats grappling with uncertainties. The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act aims to introduce measures to increase leaseholders’ rights, provide them with more control over their properties, and make lease extensions more affordable. It heralds a landmark shift in the leasehold system and a future in which homeowners are granted greater autonomy over their homes, with reduced costs and red tape.

“So it is good news that the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act has passed into legislation imminently despite many other Bills falling victim of the general election’s timing.

“As leasehold reform moves forward, the changes will undoubtedly create some challenges. A thoughtful and comprehensive approach that consults widely with practitioners, leaseholders and freeholders and considers all potential challenges is necessary to make the transition as smooth as possible.”

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