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Leasehold: Reform

Question for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

UIN HL233, tabled on 8 January 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to reform the leasehold sector.

Answered on

23 January 2020

The Government is taking forward a comprehensive programme of reform to end unfair practices in the leasehold market.

We are moving towards legislation to ban the sale of new leasehold houses, restrict ground rents to zero for future leases, give freehold home owners equivalent rights to challenge unfair charges, and close loopholes to prevent unfair evictions. We are also working with the Law Commission to make buying a freehold or extending a lease easier, quicker and more cost effective – and to reinvigorate Commonhold and Right to Manage. The Law Commission published its report on options for valuation on 9 January, and we are now considering next steps.

In October 2018 we established an independent working group, chaired by Lord Best, to raise standards across the property sector, which also considered how fees such as service charges should be presented to consumers in the leasehold sector. The working group published its final report to Government on 18 July 2019. We are considering the report’s recommendations and will announce next steps in due course.

In 2017, the Law Commission also published a report of their review of event fees in the leasehold retirement sector on behalf of this Department. The Government responded to the Law Commission in March 2019, agreeing to implement the majority of the recommendations. We are currently further considering two recommendations, on succession rights and a database of leasehold retirement properties with event fees.