The New Leasehold and Freehold Reforms: What You Need to Know

In a recent development, the long-awaited reforms to leasehold and freehold in England and Wales have finally become law. However, the anticipated cap on ground rents has been notably absent from the new legislation. Let’s delve into the details and implications of these reforms.

Key Changes in the Legislation

The newly passed Leasehold and Freehold Reform bill aims to simplify the process of extending leases, acquiring freeholds, and managing buildings for property owners. These changes are intended to make property ownership more accessible and affordable for individuals across the country.

Ground Rent Cap Abandoned

Despite initial proposals to cap ground rents at a nominal level or £250, plans for a ground rent cap have been scrapped altogether. This decision has sparked debate and disappointment among leaseholders and industry professionals alike.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, who spearheaded the reform efforts, initially pushed for a ground rent cap but faced challenges in securing its inclusion in the final legislation. Despite his confidence in passing the bill before the general election, the ground rent cap proposal was ultimately abandoned as the legislation was expedited through Parliament.

Impact on Leaseholders

Ground rent, an additional payment made by leasehold property owners, has been a contentious issue, often leading to high charges and unexpected increases. The absence of a ground rent cap means that leaseholders may continue to face financial uncertainties and challenges when selling their homes.

Labour’s shadow housing minister, Matthew Pennycook, has criticised the government’s failure to deliver comprehensive leasehold reform, pledging to continue efforts to address issues within the leasehold system. Many leaseholders who had hoped for significant reforms are left disillusioned by the outcome.

While the new legislation represents a step forward in leasehold and freehold reform, the absence of a ground rent cap has left many disappointed. However, it marks the culmination of years of advocacy and effort to address issues within the property ownership system.

As the reforms take effect, it’s essential for property owners to stay informed and seek guidance from legal and industry experts to navigate any changes effectively.