LEASEHOLD REFORM – GOVERNMENT RESPONDS

8 Jul 2019 | Shilpa Mathuradas

Last year the government invited views on how they should tackle exploitative practise in the leaseholder sector. They have now set out what they intend to do following this consultation.

The following have been announced:

  • All new build houses will be sold as freehold in future in order to tackle unfair leasehold practices;
  • All new houses will be sold on a freehold basis except in exceptional circumstances;
  • Ground rents on new leases will be reduced to zero;
  • A new time limit of 15 working days to be provide leasehold information to a prospective buyer will be incorporated into a statutory instrument;
  • A maximum fee of £200 plus VAT will be payable for freeholders and managing agents to produce leasehold information to prospective buyers in the form of leasehold property enquiry pack
  • Buyers who were incorrectly sold a leaseholder home will be able to acquire the freeholder outright are no extra cost.

The Secretary of Estate has also instructed Homes England to renegotiate to explicitly rule out the selling of new leasehold houses, other than in exceptional circumstances.

The government also responded to the issues of developers incentivising solicitors and insisting on specific practitioners being instructed. They agreed that consumers must be able to access independent and reliable legal advice but felt that the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s code of conduct was clear when it came to protecting consumers interests as they must be informed of any financial and fee sharing arrangements,

There are an estimated 2.9 million leasehold flats and 1.4 million leasehold houses in England and these proposals are likely to have a significant impact on the sector.

If you would like to contact Shilpa Mathuradas or another member of the Housing & Social Care department, please call 020 7485 8811.

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