Major changes predicted in Leasehold sector during 2018

17th December 2017
Major changes predicted in Leasehold sector during 2018

ALEP, the professional body for leasehold practitioners, is predicting major changes in the sector during 2018, including the possibility of new legislation, a prohibition on ground rents, amendments to Commonhold and a trend towards open registers on property ownership to increase transparency.

This year has witnessed a step change in the awareness of leasehold issues by the buying public, and Mark Chick, ALEP Director, believes this awareness will only rise further.

"Leasehold issues, especially with new build houses, have really hit the headlines this year and I have no doubt that interest will only intensify further over the next 12 months. The fact that there are currently four live Government consultations on property related issues shows how far issues relating to the leasehold system have risen up the agenda.

"There is every chance that these consultations, especially "Tackling unfair practices in the leasehold market", will lead to legislative changes and possibly a prohibition on ground rents for new leasehold houses.

"I can easily see the introduction of restrictions on the type of ground rent that can be charged, and possibly limits on review periods and over inflationary increases. These changes would have a substantial impact on the sector."

Within the sector there is also growing interest in Commonhold as an alternative form of residential tenure. Despite being on the statute books since 2003, when the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 came into force, Commonhold has now been referred to the Law Commission to see how it can be re-invigorated. ALEP exists to promote best practice in the leasehold sector so, in response to the growing interest in Commonhold, ALEP is organising a Lecture on Commonhold in February for practitioners. The lecture will help attendees to gain an in-depth understanding of the Act and the impact and implications that an uptake in Commonhold could have.

Mark Chick continued: "Commonhold is potentially the red hot issue for 2018. Many believe it holds the answer to address the current issues with leasehold, but it has been relatively unsuccessful to date and will need amendments to the current legislation to encourage take up.

"I also predict an amendment to the status of ground rent that exceeds Housing Act thresholds for forfeiture. Sticking my neck out a little I also predict, in light of the Paradise Papers, the imposition of increasingly open registers in relation to property ownership.

"Whatever happens, the safest prediction for 2018 is that leasehold issues will be in the spotlight and those working in the sector will be following developments with great interest. Whether we see a leasehold reform bill come before parliament will depend a great deal on Brexit, which may well blow all other Government business off the agenda."

For more information on ALEP and the Commonhold Lecture, visit www.alep.org.uk

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