A package of measures aimed at making it easier and cheaper for leaseholders to buy their property outright or extend their lease has been proposed by the government’s legal advisory body.
The recommendations follow last year’s announcement that leasehold ownership - which is time-limited and where the landlord has ultimate control over the property - for all new build houses would be banned and ground rents reduced to zero. However, existing leaseholders still face “high and escalating ground rents” and excessive service charges levied by some landlords, as well as legal and financial obstacles in securing the freehold.
Leaseholders of both houses and flats should have the right to a lease extension for a term of 990 years, in place of the current shorter extensions of 90 or 50 years, the Law Commission has said. There would be no ongoing ground rent under the extended lease, and landlords could not use the extension process “to impose new, onerous obligations”, it recommended.