Calls for Government to provide alternative to leasehold tenancies

The Law Commission has called on the Government to expand the ‘commonhold’ system of home ownership to give people an alternative to leasehold tenancies.

In recent months, complaints about the leasehold system have been mounting amid concerns that ground rent costs are unrealistic and unfair, and that people living in leasehold properties find it difficult and expensive to pursue lease extensions or purchase the freehold to their property.

The leasehold system dictates that while the owner of the property has the right to use it, they still require the leaseholder’s permission to carry out any important changes to their home – and this too can create complications for homeowners.

In the UK, most properties are sold as either freehold or leasehold, with the commonhold system – which was initially introduced 14 years ago – very rarely used in comparison.

In fact, since the Commonhold Act was first introduced in 2004, as few as 20 commonhold developments have been created.

Due to this, the Law Commission has said that commonhold should be made much more widely available in England and Wales as an alternative option for homebuyers.

It argues that this system ‘gives ownership and control’ back to property and flat owners.

In terms of those living in flats, this system is actually much more beneficial, as the block will be managed by a company made up of the owners, as opposed to leasehold flats, which are typically owned ‘forever under the system’, a report in BBC News points out.

Over the coming weeks, the Commission will be consulting on the issue in its efforts to develop a solid set of recommendations to present to the Government.

For further advice regarding landlord and tenant disputes, please contact Toby Conyers-Kelly on 01904 528217 or email tck@hethertons.co.uk