Expert Offers Insight On Queen’s Speech Leasehold Reform

The Queen’s speech was underwhelming for the housing sector but did reinforce the government’s intentions to help the leasehold sector. 

The Queen discussed a ‘comprehensive programme of reform to end unfair practices in the leasehold market.’  

The content of the speech also insisted on protecting tenants, making home ownership more affordable and discounted for local first-time buyers in addition to improving building safety. 

Whilst the Leasehold Solutions Group has welcomed the addition of leasehold reform under the new government regime, Louie Burns worries the changes will not go far enough. 

Louie Burns, Managing Director of The Leasehold Solutions Group, said:  

“It is very encouraging to see that the Government remains committed to the goal of leasehold reform. We sincerely hope that during this Parliament, the Government will honour its numerous promises to end leasehold abuse and press ahead with an ambitious programme of leasehold reform. It is high time that the unjust leasehold system was consigned to the history books. 

“Two years on from the Government’s first promise to reform leasehold, there has not been a single change to leasehold legislation. Rather, leaseholders have had more than their fair share of disappointments during 2019.  

“The Freeholder’s charter, a voluntary 14-point pledge was particularly disappointing for leaseholders. Giving developers and freeholders – the very people responsible for the ground rent and leasehold housing scandal – the opportunity to regulate themselves, was a pathetic move that stands little chance of effecting real change.   

“It was also made clear that the leasehold owners of retirement properties will be excluded from the benefits of any legislative changes. It is shameful that retirement home operators will be able to continue to exploit retired people through high ground rents, excessive service charges and event fees.  

“It remains to be seen whether 2020 will bring the wide-ranging reforms necessary to make the leasehold system fair for homeowners. It is vital that all those involved in fighting leasehold as an unjust, unfair and unfit form of land tenure keep up the pressure on the Government to honour its many promises.” 

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