The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill was announced in the King’s Speech on 7 November 2023. The Bill received its second reading on 11 December 2023 and was considered by a Public Bill Committee between 16 January and 1 February 2024.

The Bill’s report stage and third reading took place on 27 February 2024. The Bill has now moved to the House of Lords.

The passage of the Bill and any updates or news can be followed here. 

The proposal for the Leasehold Reform Bill shows an ongoing commitment by the Government to reform leasehold,  and fulfil its promise to make extending a lease or buying a freehold ‘easier, faster, fairer and cheaper’ for leaseholders.

The proposal for the Bill outlines a number of reforms to the leasehold system, which will extend rights to more categories of leaseholder, and introduce changes to reduce costs.

The Bill’s main provisions would:

  • make it cheaper and easier for leaseholders in houses and flats to extend their lease and buy the freehold.
  • increase the standard lease extension term to 990 years, with ground rent reduced to a peppercorn (zero financial value), upon payment of a premium.
  • change the qualifying criteria to give more leaseholders the right to extend their lease, buy their freehold and take over management of their building.
  • ban the granting of new leasehold houses (with some exceptions).
  • improve the transparency of service charges and ensure leaseholders receive key information on a regular basis.
  • give leaseholders a new right to request information about service charges and the management of their building.
  • improve the transparency of administration charges and buildings insurance commissions.
  • ensure leaseholders are not subject to any unjustified legal costs and can claim their own legal costs from their freeholder.
  • give freehold homeowners who pay charges for the maintenance of communal areas and facilities on a private or mixed-tenure residential estate the right to 1) challenge the reasonableness of charges and  standard of services provided; and 2) apply to the tribunal to appoint a substitute manager where their estate management company is failing.
  • improve the transparency of estate charges and give freehold homeowners access to redress schemes.
  • ensure that relevant property sales information is provided to leaseholders and freeholders on estates in a timely manner.
  • ensure a rentcharge owner is not able to take possession or grant a lease on a freehold property where the rentcharge remains unpaid for a short period of time.
  • strengthen the leaseholder protections in the Building Safety Act 2022.

This information was published by the Commons Library on 12 March 2024.

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