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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Why the delay? Leasehold lobby presses government for action

A leasehold group has written to Housing Minister Chris Pincher pressing for an update on the government’s approach to reform for the sector.

In July the Law Commission presented the government with recommendations which, if adopted, would hail huge changes to the way leasehold operates.  

The report, released after two years of deliberations, seeks to address recent scandals of new-build homes sold with leases including high fees and built-in ground rent increases, effectively preventing some owners from selling.

Proposals include giving owners the right to extend leases by 990 years instead of the usual 50 or 90, and that there should be no continuous ground rent under an extended lease.

Other proposals would prevent landlords attaching new obligations to lease extensions, and increasing the potential of owners to buy out the ground rent without also having to extend the length of the lease.

The Law Commission additionally recommends allowing leaseholders to extend their lease or buy their freehold immediately after purchasing a property rather than having to wait two years as now, as well as capping costs of extending leases.

But since the Commission reported, there has been no word from the government.

Now the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners has written to Pincher asking when the government will respond.

John Midgley, ALEP director, says: “Whilst we appreciate this has been a challenging year for government – as it has for everyone – we must not lose sight of important changes that will not only impact ALEP’s members, but the enfranchisement sector and wider property industry.”

He adds that he is looking forward to next year when he expects “the sector will have further clarity as to the timescale of reforms to the leasehold enfranchisement system which will no doubt be subject to further debate and discussion.”

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