A ban on leaseholds for almost all new build houses is to come into effect as part of new Government measures to deliver a ‘fairer, more transparent system for homeowners’.
Communities secretary Sajid Javid (pictured) has announced plans to cut out ‘unfair and abusive’ practices within the leasehold system.
Changes will also be made so that ground rents on new long leases for houses and flats are set to zero.
The Government will also make it cheaper and easier for existing leaseholders to buy-out their freehold and there will be better information available about redress for those consumers who face the most onerous terms.
The announcement comes following a Government consultation which resulted in 6,000 responses and ‘an overwhelming’ support for tackling unfair leasehold practices.
There are currently 1.4 million leasehold houses across England.
Leasehold generally applies to flats with shared spaces, making multiple ownership more straightforward, but developers have been increasingly selling houses on these terms.
Javid says: “It’s unacceptable for home buyers to be exploited through unnecessary leaseholds, unjustifiable charges and onerous ground rent terms.
“It’s clear from the overwhelming response from the public that real action is needed to end these feudal practices. That’s why the measures this Government is now putting in place will help create a system that actually works for consumers.”
Measures to be introduced include:
- Legislating to prevent the sale of new build leasehold houses except where necessary, such as shared ownership;
- Making certain that ground rents on new long leases – for both houses and flats – are set at zero;
- Working with the Law Commission to support existing leaseholders and make the process of purchasing a freehold or extending a lease much easier, faster and cheaper;
- Providing leaseholders with clear support on the various routes to redress available to them;
- A wider internal review of the support and advice to leaseholders to make sure it is fit for purpose in this new legislative and regulatory environment;
- Making sure freeholders have equivalent rights to leaseholders to challenge unfair service charges.