Tue 12 Dec 2023
Housing minister Lee Rowley pledged that the legislation would offer comprehensive reform and lead to a better system in the long term that levels the playing field and empowers people.
It came after hours of debate in the House of Commons where MPs expressed concerns that the Bill excluded a previously-promised plan to ban leasehold houses and didn't address stopping leaseholds on new flats.
Labour MPs also expressed concerns at how long the reforms have taken to hit the parliamentary agenda and that there isn’t support for introducing commonhold as an alternative form of tenure automatically on new-build homes.
The legislation will now enter committee stage where it is hoped that a ban on leasehold sales of houses will be introduced.
The Bill aims to make it cheaper and easier for existing leaseholders in houses and flats to extend their lease or buy their freehold.
It is also hoped that reforms will make these types of properties easier to sell.
The Bill will increase the standard lease extension term from 90 years to 990 years for both houses and flats, with ground rent reduced to £0 and remove the requirement for a new leaseholder to have owned their house or flat for two years before they can benefit from these changes.
There will also be a maximum time and fee for the provision of information required to make a sale such as building insurance or financial records to a leaseholder by their freeholder and more transparency over charges.
Additionally, the Bill will scrap the presumption that leaseholders pay their freeholders’ legal costs.