Tuesday, 12 January 2021 05:30

Property industry gives potential leasehold reforms a mixed reception Featured

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POSSIBLE reforms to the controversial leasehold system in England to clamp down on high costs when extending a lease have been given a mixed reception by industry experts.

The Government says its proposals should help those with shorter leases fearing bills of many thousands of pounds.

Former council tenants who bought their homes in the 1980s are likely to be among those who could benefit.

Campaigners gave the complex proposals, which could affect up to four million homes, a guarded welcome. Some have dubbed the system as “fleecehold”, owing to issues over escalating rents and high charges.

While they welcome protections for leaseholders in the future, many believe they should be paid compensation for unjustified charges and rents in the past.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Across the country people are struggling to realise the dream of owning their own home but find the reality of being a leaseholder far too bureaucratic, burdensome and expensive.”

The initial part of the plan will see leaseholders given the opportunity to extend their lease for 990 years, reducing risks of the property becoming more difficult to sell.

Propertymark - the professional body for estate agency staff, welcomed the moves.

Mark Hayward, Propertymark’s chief policy adviser, said: “While we welcome the government’s initiative to reduce ground rents to zero for all new retirement properties, we would argue this needs to be extended to all retirement properties to create a level playing field.”

But the Leasehold Group of Companies, which advises clients on leasehold property solutions, has warned Government’s leasehold reform proposals ‘fall well short of what is needed’ to reform sector.

Anna Bailey, founder and chief executive officer of the Leasehold Group, said: "Having been at the forefront of this sector and working solely for leaseholders for nearly 20 years, I am genuinely concerned that the reforms proposed will in reality change very little for ‘millions of leaseholders’ and are nothing more than window dressing.

"We – and the clients for whom we are working – urgently need more clarification on how, and crucially when, the reforms will actually be implemented.”

Read this article on the Gazette and Herald here...

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