Law Commission wants radical reform for leasehold property in England

A major consultation by the Law Commission on how to reform the leasehold property system in England and Wales has been announced.

Its proposals aim to improve the current system by making it simpler and cheaper for leasehold property owners to carry out enfranchisement – the process of extending their lease or buying the freehold of their property.

The current system has been described as complex and expensive, with more than 50 Acts of Parliament involved in creating and monitoring leasehold.

The Law Commission had been asked by the Ministry of Housing and the Welsh Government to carry out a review of the present system and suggest reforms that are fair to both leaseholders and freeholders.

Situation can be fraught

A freeholder is the landowner while a leaseholder owns a property that stands on that land. Around 4.2 million properties in England are estimated to be leasehold, meaning those homeowners must either negotiate a longer lease or attempt to buy the freehold, a situation that can be fraught and lengthy.

Publishing its consultation paper, entitled Leasehold home ownership: buying your freehold or extending your lease, the Law Commission has proposed:

  • Making enfranchisement easier, cheaper and quicker;
  • Improving and enhancing the rights of leaseholders to buy the freehold or extend a lease;
  • Introduce a simpler unified procedure for houses and flats;
  • Remove any limitations on the right to enfranchise - at the moment, leaseholders must have owned their property for two years before making a claim.

Complex and expensive process

Law Commissioner Professor Nick Hopkins said: "The current system is complex, slow and expensive, and it's failing homeowners. Many feel they are having to pay twice to own their home.

"Our proposals would make it easier and cheaper to buy the freehold or extend the lease of their home, ensuring the system works for ordinary homeowners across the country.

“We want to hear views from across the spectrum on how this complicated area of law can be improved."

In-Deed has the expert conveyancing for leasehold

At In-Deed, we work with experienced property lawyers across England and Wales with the skills and knowhow in dealing with leasehold conveyancing. So, whether you are buying or selling a leasehold property, intend to extend a lease or plan to buy the freehold, In-Deed can offer the high-quality, value-for-money conveyancing services you need.

Call In-Deed on 0800 038 6886 – we’re open seven days – or get an instant quote here for leasehold conveyancing.