Leasehold reform back in the spotlight

The Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP) has responded to comments made by Michael Gove at the weekend which suggest the Government may introduce further reforms to the leasehold system before the end of the current Parliament.

In an interview with Sophy Ridge on Sunday on Sky, he was asked a follow up question on his interview with The Times newspaper on 29 January 2023. Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, said that he wanted to introduce legislation before the next election and in the final parliamentary session, (i.e. before the end of this calendar year), ‘in order to change the leasehold system.’  

ALEP Director, Mark Chick, said: ‘This is clearly a statement of political intent and also reveals the intended timescale from the Government. Following the introduction of the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022 last summer, there has been much speculation about when further reforms to the leasehold system may be forthcoming. It is encouraging to hear from the Secretary of State with some further certainty on this, as leaseholders and those advising would like to know the likely timing and detail as to what may be planned.”

“However, Mr Gove’s interviews shed little light on which specific elements of the leasehold system the Government will turn its attention to next and, despite the promise, the practicalities of introducing new legislation before the next election (in terms of timing etc.) will also need to be addressed. This also says nothing as to what will happen to the leasehold reform agenda should the Conservatives lose.” 

On 9 November 2022, Lucy Frazer, the Minister for Housing and Planning, responded to a Parliamentary Question on progress in introducing leasehold reform, stating that “The Government has committed to making enfranchisement cheaper for leaseholders by reforming the process of valuation leaseholders must follow to calculate the cost of extending their lease or buying their freehold.”

Chick continued: “Based on recent statements from Government, it seems likely that changes to the valuation system will form at least one component of the next round of reform. We look forward to receiving clarity on the Government’s agenda for leasehold reform, and consulting with them in relation to the areas where it is considering change, as well as the likely timing and detail of any new legislation.”