Propertymark has given its backing to commitments from the Housing Minister on the long-awaited next steps of leasehold reform.
Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns at Propertymark, said many agents and leaseholders will be relieved to hear of plans for new legislation to further reform the leasehold system.
He said: “Enfranchisement must be made easier, loopholes in redress must be closed, ground rent restrictions must be extended, and the UK Government must ensure any legislation to abolish leasehold improves consumer confidence and is fit for purpose.”
It was reported over the weekend that ground rents on existing leases will be capped at a ‘peppercorn’ rate all new houses in England and Wales will have to be sold as freehold properties under Government plans to phase out the leasehold system.
Housing Minister Rachel Maclean tweeted confirmation, stating: “Plans to phase out leasehold and restore true home ownership confirmed as part of the King's Speech. We will restore true home ownership to millions of people and end the reign of rip off freeholders + incompetent profiteering management companies.”
Mark Chick, director of the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners, also backed the news but urged caution.
He said: “Leasehold is an extremely complex aspect of property law. It has been in place for centuries and impacts on almost five million individuals and it is therefore vital that the introduction of any Bill is more than a headline-grabber.
“The Government must consult widely and create robust legislation which addresses the significant issues which exist to the detriment of both consumers and practitioners.
“We do not wish to see a repeat of some of the issues that have arisen following the recent Building Safety Act – new legislation incompatible with existing legislation, which results in complexity, cost and uncertainty.”