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Housing reform creates opportunities for leaseholders

19th January 2021

Housing reform creates opportunities for leaseholders

New reforms giving millions of leaseholders the right to extend their leases at zero ground rent have been welcomed by one of the region’s most prominent property litigation lawyers.

The recent changes announced by government will see millions of leaseholders given the right to extend their residential leases up to a maximum term of 990 years with zero ground rent, leading to potentially sizeable savings for each qualifying household.

Under current rules, leaseholders of houses can only extend their lease for a 50 year period and have to pay a ground rent.

Nyree Applegarth, a partner at leading West Midlands firm Higgs & Sons, believes the measure will make a substantial difference at a crucial time.

She said: “There have been calls for reform of the residential leasehold sector for quite some time and these reforms to make home ownership fairer and more secure are long overdue.

“These measures would have been welcome at any time but, given the financial pressure that so many people are under as a result of the pandemic, changes meaning people will no longer have to pay high ground rents and a mortgage will be exceptionally welcome.

“There have been far too many recent scandals in the leasehold sector, involving unfair rent increases and hikes in charges to tenants with little justification, and leaseholders will therefore universally welcome their ability to extend their lease without having to pay any ground rent.”

The reforms, due to go before parliament in the near future, also pave the way for a commonhold scheme – where leaseholders are jointly given ownership of a multi-occupancy building - to be more widely introduced in the UK.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced plans for the formation of a “commonhold council” – a partnership of leasehold groups, industry figures and government representatives – instructed to prepare homeowners and the housing market for the introduction of commonhold.

Nyree added: “This is a model that is widely used outside the UK and allows homeowners to own their property on a freehold basis, giving them greater control over the costs of home ownership.”

If you have any queries about how your property interest may be affected by the above changes, contact Nyree on 01384 327151 or nyree.applegarth@higgsandsons.co.uk

 

 

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