Real Estate

Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill rushed through the Lords

The House of Lords has voted to pass the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill in a last-minute scramble.

The rushed nature of the bill means that there won’t be a cap on ground rents, which was something pushed by housing secretary Michael Gove.

What the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill does do is scrap leaseholds on new houses, but not flats.

It also extends the standard lease term to 990 years, makes it easier for leaseholders to buy out or extend their lease, and increases transparency around service charges.

John Jones, head of residential property at solicitor firm Jackson Lees, said: “There has been much debate about this bill and whether it goes far enough but, whilst it is far from perfect, it is progress, nonetheless.

“It does not address all the problems leaseholders face, such as ground rents which many argue should be capped or scrapped altogether, but it does put them in a better position than before.

“It also represents the biggest shake-up of the leasehold system in decades, and that has to be better than it being paused for the general election and left languishing on what will undoubtedly be a very long list of priorities under the new government.”

A spokesperson for The Residential Freehold Association seemed very downbeat about the bill moving so quickly through the Lords.

They said: “The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill is a defective and poorly evidenced piece of legislation which has ignored the outcomes of consultation with industry and leaseholders alike.

“The government has pushed this Bill through without proper scrutiny and as a result there is work to be done to ensure there are no unintended consequences that will negatively impact leaseholders.”

All that’s now left is for the bill to be granted royal assent to be passed into law.

Parliament will be dissolved on May 30th.

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