UK Parliament to consider new leasehold reform bill

Today, the UK Parliament will introduce the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill, a significant move towards banning the creation of new leasehold houses in England and Wales.

This bill represents the first step in its journey to becoming law, a development Housing Secretary Michael Gove describes as a “landmark moment for millions”.

Under the proposed reforms, new houses in England and Wales will predominantly be freehold, with only exceptional cases being exempt. However, concerns have been raised by campaigners about the continued sale and purchase of leasehold flats.

Gove said: “People work hard to own a home. But for far too long, many have been denied the full benefits of ownership due to the unfair and outdated leasehold system. That’s why liberating leaseholders is a key part of the Government’s Long-Term Plan for Housing.”

The legislation also aims to address “rip-off” charges, with a consultation planned on capping existing ground rents. This measure is intended to protect leaseholders from unnecessary payments that offer no benefit and can complicate property sales.

The bill will facilitate easier processes for leaseholders to buy their freehold and manage their buildings, as outlined in the King’s Speech earlier this month. These reforms are expected to make property sales and mortgage acquisition more straightforward.

Key features of the bill include extending the standard lease term from 90 to 990 years for both houses and flats, and reducing ground rents to £0.