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Leasehold reforms would simplify system

Four million leasehold homeowners in England and Wales could be helped by proposed reform to the property system.

A new report from the Law Commission wants a number of changes to leasehold to make it simpler and cheaper for leaseholders to extend their lease or buy the freehold on their property.

The watchdog has been carrying out a long-term consultation into the leasehold system, which affects around four million properties in England and Wales.

Ban on new-build leaseholds

Last year the Government banned the practice of selling new-build properties as leasehold except in special circumstances.

This followed revelations that some new homes had become unsellable because clauses in the lease meant annual ground rent charges were rising too steeply.

Leasehold reform campaigners want a simplified system for buying freehold or extending a lease.

However, the Law Commission said any change had to protect the human rights of freeholders.

3 alternative schemes

Its reform proposals put forward three alternative schemes for making enfranchisement cheaper.

The commission also suggests other options for reform including changes in how the price of a lease is calculated to make it more simple; capping ground grounds; and creating an online calculator that would help leaseholders put a price on the lease.

Options for reform

Professor Nick Hopkins, the property law commissioner, said: “We were asked to provide options for reform that save leaseholders money when buying their freehold or extending their lease, while ensuring that sufficient compensation is paid to landlords.

“This is what we’ve done. We are ready to help the government in implementing whatever options for reform they choose.”

Housing Minister Robert Jenrick said he will consider the proposals before deciding how the Government will respond.