This week, on Tuesday 7th November, Labour MP Justin Madders introduced a Private Members Bill to Parliament to establish provisions about the regulation of the purchase of freeholds by leaseholders.
Essentially, the Leasehold Reform Bill sets out a system to introduce a compensation scheme for current homeowners who have suffered under unfair leasehold terms. The Bill, which has gained much cross party support, highlights specific proposals for a fair and simple mechanism to help homeowners escape their current leasehold agreements.
As deputy chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Leasehold Reform, Madders welcomed the consultation on ending unfair leasehold practices, but stated there was little to suggest that the government planned to address the ongoing situation of leaseholders, many of whom feel trapped in their homes.
The proposed Bill calls for three measures of reform to leasehold legislation:
Introduce a statutory pricing model to calculate the cost of a freehold purchase, which would be capped at 10 times the annual ground rent payable by the leaseholder to provide greater transparency;
Make provision about the award of legal costs in leasehold property tribunal cases, so that the legal costs of the freeholder would no longer be borne by the leaseholder;
Establish a compensation scheme for cases where leaseholders have received misleading particulars from sales agents or inadequate advice from solicitors which led to certain leasehold agreements.
Mr Madders has suggested that a full independent inquiry into relationships between developers, freeholders, finance companies and conveyancers should be conducted in order to establish how this system was allowed to develop and hold those responsible to account.
The currently flawed system costs leaseholders and the Government millions of pounds every year to run the Tribunals, all for the benefit of the already wealthy freeholders. The formula required to calculate the lease extension premium must be reassessed to make the process simple and most importantly, to save leaseholders and the tax payer millions of pounds in wasted legal fees.
Author. Unkn (2017) 'Proposed Leasehold Reform Bill', NAEA, 10 November [Online]. Available at: http://www.naea.co.uk/news/november-2017/proposed-leasehold-reform-bill/ (Accessed: 11 November 2017).