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Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill could still become law

  • 24/05/2024
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Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill could still become law
The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill could potentially pass before the election, as it enters the report stage in the House of Lords today.

This will give Lords a final chance to scrutinise the bill and make amendments. Any amendments will be considered by the House of Lords during a third reading, but if no amendments are made, then the bill will be passed on for royal assent. 

Today is the last day MPs will sit in Parliament before the general election on 4 July. 

Measures in the bill include making it easier for leaseholders to extend their lease or buy the freehold, extending the standard lease extension term to 990 years for houses and flats, and introducing greater transparency over service charges. 

A peppercorn ground rent was also expected to be introduced through the Leasehold and Reform Bill, reducing ground rent to a nominal value. However, it has since been speculated that this will be capped at £250 per year instead. 

Leaseholders could also gain the right to collectively enfranchise or manage the buildings containing their flats.


Leasehold reform ‘needed’

Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns at Propertymark, said: “Leasehold reform is much needed, so it is welcome that the legislation looks set to pass. We know from the data that we have discovered as part of our campaigning on the issue that many leaseholders regret buying a leasehold property plus complex leases and escalating ground rents can make leasehold property more difficult to sell. 

“The proposals are a step in the right direction and will bring in more protections for consumers. However, to strengthen the measures further we have long said that those buying, selling and renting out leasehold properties must be suitably qualified and regulated, ground rents must be reduced to a peppercorn and issues around event fees must be tackled.”

He added: “It is imperative that the current government don’t miss the opportunity, or consumers and the sector will be left waiting once again for further reforms, with what will feel like unfinished business to many.” 

The Renters Reform Bill, which is currently at the House of Lords committee stage, was not on today’s parlimentary schedule and therefore unlikely to pass before the election.

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