The government has signalled that it will bring in more leasehold reforms for flat owners following the introduction of the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill.
During a House of Lords debate, Housing Minister Baroness Penn (pictured) promised it would be taking forward reforms to the commonhold system “at a later date”, to allow it to replace the leasehold system.
She told peers: “For flats, the government remain committed to reinvigorating commonhold to give developers and homeowners a viable alternative to leasehold should they choose it.”
It had been revealed that the government’s proposed ban on the sale of new leasehold houses was not included in the bill due to time constraints. However, Baroness Penn added that it planned to bring forward clauses to ban their sale within the bill.
She added: “When it comes to flats, on the other hand, reform is more complicated. They have shared fabric and infrastructure and therefore require some form of arrangement to facilitate management. This has traditionally been facilitated by a lease. Therefore, banning leasehold flats is inherently more complicated.”
The bill will make it easier and cheaper for leaseholders to buy their freehold, increase standard lease extension terms to 990 years for houses and flats (up from 50 years in houses and 90 years in flats), and provide greater transparency over service charges.
It will also rebalance the legal costs regime and remove barriers for leaseholders to challenge their landlords’ unreasonable charges at tribunal. New powers will help more leaseholders take over management of their property, allowing them to appoint the managing agent.