The Law Commission’s proposals on leasehold reform are good news for landlords (who own leasehold properties) and who are planning to extend their leaseholds, a leading firm of solicitors working in the private rental market has claimed.

The recommended shake-up of the outdated leasehold system, which has followed several high profile campaigns including by the National Leasehold Campaign (see above) and court cases, could make it possible for property owners to extend their lease immediately after purchase rather than having to wait for two years, and also enable a much fairer system of extension for existing owners.

The timeframe for the implementation of the reforms has yet to be confirmed, but Cavendish Legal Group (CLG) is expecting an increase in its leasehold work once the new measures are in place.

“The existing system leaves leaseholders in a difficult situation which many feel is unfair,” says Jonathan Frankel, a partner at CLG.

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“Ground rents continue to be a concern for buyers and lenders alike, so the desire to eliminate these is extremely welcome.

“If these proposals are adopted by government, I would expect to see huge demand from leaseholders to extend their leases or taking advantage of the enfranchisement route to buy out the freehold altogether.”

990 years

The Law Commission proposals include allowing leaseholders to extend their leases by up to 990 years, rather than the current 90 years for flats and 50 years for houses.

This would mean that leaseholders would not be faced with the prospect of the property reverting to the freeholder, and the value of the lease suffering as a result.

The commission has also proposed that leaseholders would no longer have to pay ongoing ground rent, which would have the additional benefit of making it easier for them to secure finance.

Leaseholder comment

“The NLC is delighted that the Law Commission’s reports recognise how badly the current leasehold system is stacked against leaseholders and is recommending adoption of commonhold, and informed and practical routes for existing leaseholders to escape from the nightmares created by this feudal system,” a spokesperson from the National Leasehold Campaign says.

“We need Government to act on these recommendations now. They must not be lost in a sea of endless consultations, further consideration and drift “until Parliamentary time allows”. Leaseholders’ lives are on hold and urgent action is needed.

7 COMMENTS

  1. This is poorly written. Anyone who knows anything about leasehold would know that it is for leaseholders to seek to extend their leases. To say

    The Law Commission’s proposals on leasehold reform are good news for landlords planning to extend their leaseholds,

    Betrays a lack of knowledge of how lease extensions are transacted. And besides it would be the tenant extending the term of their leaseholds not landlords.

    Can we please have articles which are written by journalists that actually understand how these markets work?

    • Hi Trevor – thanks for the honest feedback. It was written to point out that private landlords who are also leaseholders of properties and naturally rent them out now have an easier path to extending their lease once the reforms are taken on board by the government and enacted.

  2. Only a leaseholder can plan to extend their “leasehold” (sic) not a landlord who can only be reactive, not proactive

  3. I’ve extended the leases on 3 flats I own. Each one was an absolute nightmare. The freeholders (all different) wanted ridiculous premiums for the extensions, even after knowing I had paid for expensive surveyors to carry out reports and give well guided values for the extended leases. On top of this the freeholders knew full well that I had to pay their legal fees, which were well above what was an acceptable figure. You have little recourse and have to pay up. Change is well overdue.

  4. Thank you Nigel. I am a landlord and understand perfectly what you are saying in your article. I have several leasehold houses with short leases. At present it seems the freeholder is in control with any purchase of the freehold subject to the Freeholders valuation, surveyors costs and solicitors costs.

  5. I agree with Nigel, There are many BTL landlords who own leasehold properties. They will be looking to extend their lease along with millions of residential leaseholders. All have had a poor service form ground rent speculators who really should not be classed as ‘landlords’ for the simple reason they own about 1% of the financial value but take over 100% of charges through admin fees, commission and ground rent.

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