Reform of Leasehold Enfranchisement Law

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On 21st July 2020, the Law Commission released a new report on the reform of leasehold enfranchisement law.

In an attempt to simplify the leasehold enfranchisement legislation in this country, the Law Commission published a consultation paper in September 2018 exploring different ways in making the process of extending a lease of a house or a flat, purchasing the freehold of a house and collectively purchasing the freehold of a block of flats with other leaseholders, both simpler and more affordable.

Almost two years later, the Law Commission’s report on Leasehold Enfranchisement (Leasehold Ownership: Buying your Freehold or Extending your Lease) was finally published yesterday.

The Law Commission’s recommendations are as follows:

  • Giving leaseholders of both houses and flats a right to a lease extension for a term of 990 years with no ground rent payable under the extended lease
  • New right for leaseholders to “buy out” the ground rent under their lease without having to extend the length of their lease
  • Removal of the qualifying criteria of ownership of a lease of two years before being able to exercise the right to a lease extension
  • Allowing flat owners to buy the freehold of their block where up to 50% of the building is commercial space
  • Making it easier and cheaper for leaseholders to enfranchise by allowing multiple buildings to be purchased in one claim and allowing the leaseholders to require the landlord to take “lease backs” of units within the building which are not let to leaseholders participating in the claim
  • Making enfranchisement claims simpler
  • All enfranchisement disputes and issues are to be decided by the tribunal
  • Eliminating or controlling the leaseholder’s liability to pay their landlord’s costs which at present can be equal or exceed the enfranchisement price.

The intention is there, we just need to wait and see how long it will take for the recommendations to be enacted.

Here to Help

If you need advice about your property and the reform of leasehold enfranchisement law, please contact Polja Atkins who specialises in advice on leasehold extensions and enfranchisement.

Please note the contents of this blog are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.