Housing Minister, Robert Jenrick, recently announced the long awaited start of leasehold reform. The new measures come as part of the biggest reforms to English property law for 40 years and aim to fundamentally make home ownership fairer and more secure. It is proposed that leaseholders will be given the right to extend their lease by a maximum term of 990 years at zero ground rent. This goes further than existing legislation for both leasehold houses and flats regarding term and reducing ground rents to zero.
The changes will mean that any leaseholder who chooses to extend the lease on their home will no longer pay any ground rent to the freeholder. A further welcome addition is an online calculator which will be introduced to make it simpler for leaseholders to find out how much it will cost them to buy their freehold or extend their lease. We understand that the government proposals include abolishing costs like ‘marriage value’ and will set the calculation rates to ensure they are fairer, cheaper and more transparent.
This will be a welcome move for many and make the process far simpler for all concerned.
The government is also now establishing a Commonhold Council - a partnership of leasehold groups, industry and government - that will prepare homeowners and the market for the widespread take-up of commonhold. We hope for further information regarding this in the coming months.
Sarah Finn is Head of Property at Hatch Brenner Solicitors. If you have any questions at all regarding a residential property or commercial property transaction, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01603 660 811.