Do leasehold reform measures go far enough?

A prominent figure in the leasehold industry has called for the Government to review the way in leasehold valuations are calculated.

Despite welcoming the government’s promises to reform the current system in England and Wales, Louie Burns has recently criticised the proposals, stating that they do not go far enough.

The Managing Director of Leasehold Solutions expressed his approval toward the reform commitments set out in the Queen’s Speech, focussing on onerous contract terms and transparency in the market.

“We welcome the Government’s commitment to tackle two of the glaring injustices of the leasehold system, namely onerous ground rents and the sale of leasehold houses.

“We are pleased to see that the Government has finally acknowledged that something needs to be done to address the UK’s feudal and unjust leasehold system and we welcome the announcement of a consultation to promote transparency and fairness for leaseholders.

“This is a huge victory for the more than four million leasehold flat and house owners up and down the country, many of whom have been stuck with the nightmare of onerous ground rents, which could make their properties virtually unsaleable.”

There was also mention of a consultation in the speech, which is expected to consider responses from the public in order to improve the current leasehold system for all parties.

Despite these steps towards change, however, Burns stated that the industry were still concerned about leasehold valuation measures favouring freeholders unfairly. Stressing that the Government should acknowledge the potential impact of this, he stated: “We continue to have serious reservations about the flawed valuation models used to calculate the cost of lease extensions and freehold acquisitions, which unfairly benefit freeholders and cause misery and profound financial hardship for many flat owners. We urge the Government to consider alternative valuation methods which will redress this balance and provide a fairer outcome for leaseholders.

“Leasehold Solutions has been heavily involved in campaigns against onerous ground rents and the sale of leasehold houses and we will continue to fight for further reforms which will give leaseholders back control of their own properties.”

 

Today's Conveyancer