In July 2017, the government issued a consultation paper entitled ‘Tackling unfair practices in the leasehold market’. It followed a period during which the issue of residential leasehold law had become (and remains) highly topical and is once again politically charged.
In February 2017, the government had published a Housing White Paper – ‘Fixing our broken housing market’. This followed a House of Commons’ debate on residential leasehold held in December 2016 and the formation of an All-Party Parliamentary Group on leasehold reform led by Sir Peter Bottomley MP.
So, what has caused the government to take up the issue of residential leases when it might be thought that it has more pressing matters to consider? It is because certain builders and developers of houses (particularly in the north of England) have allegedly been selling those houses on leases with levels of ground rent which have a material impact on the value of the lease (including in some cases making the leases effectively worthless). How has this happened?