James Brokenshire MP has announced that all new-build houses will be sold as freehold unless in “exceptional circumstances.”
Speaking at the Chartered Institute of Housing conference today, Brokenshire detailed a range of measures and changes to the British housing landscape that will affect both residential homeowners and renters.
As well as banning leasehold sales of new-build houses, Brokenshire revealed that ground rents for new leases will be cut entirely.
He added that buyers who were sold a leasehold property incorrectly will be able to acquire their freehold outright and at no extra cost.
For those selling a leasehold property, fees that agents and freeholders can charge will be capped at £200 and will have 15 working days to provide the information required.
“Last year we consulted on proposals including the leasehold house ban and ground rent reduction,” Brokenshire comments.
“Today I can confirm we will go ahead with our original plan to reduce ground rents on future leases to zero, as opposed to a cap of £10 per year… and we will legislate to ensure that in the future – save for the most exceptional circumstances – all new house will be sold on a freehold basis.”
It was also revealed that leasehold houses will no longer be sold through Help to Buy, and that 18 more property developers, agents and freeholders have signed up to the government industry pledge to take ‘concrete steps to help leaseholders who are stuck in unfair deals’. This brings the total number of signatories to 60.
The government is also inviting proposals to make it easier for those renting to transfer their deposits between landlords when moving residence – a concept known as ‘deposit passporting.’
Further news includes the development of a New Homes Ombudsman and the launch of a consultation on redress for those who have purchased new build homes, which closes on 22 August, and an announcement that the government has started a bidding process for £2bn in long-term partnerships with the aim of delivering more affordable homes.