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The Future For Leasehold Reform

Simon Kerrigan and Colin Young, Partners at Boodle Hatfield, comment

Leasehold reform has been on the cards for some time now. Landlords, tenants and their advisors are becoming used to consultation papers, ministerial statements and press releases that promise reform but, to date, such reforms have been slow to materialise. Until earlier this year, the only reforms to have been enacted have been the welcome, but not particular radical, ground rent restrictions applicable on the grant of a new residential lease.

This looked set to change with a sudden flurry of announcements at the start of 2023 in which Michael Gove, Secretary of State at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, indicated that progress would soon be made, including a somewhat surprising and somewhat radical plan to scrap the ‘feudal’ leasehold system completely.

However, just a few months later, a further ministerial announcement saw these plans side-lined and leasehold seemingly given a reprieve.

So where does this leave leasehold reform? Those waiting on the long-promised reforms to the enfranchisement process including ways to make buying a freehold or extending a lease ‘easier, faster, fairer and cheaper’, or wondering whether commonhold will ever see the light as an alternative form of tenure, are still in the dark as to when and if these reforms will be implemented. However, significant progress appears to have been made of late, with a recent government announcement promising a fresh leasehold reform bill in the Autumn and the publication of the long-awaited Renters Reform Bill. 

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