Cavendish: Slow progress on leasehold reform leaves homeowners losing out

Jake Carter

August 18, 2021

Lack of progress on government reforms of the UK’s leasehold system is leaving thousands of homeowners in a potentially costly waiting game, according to leasehold enfranchisement specialist Cavendish Legal Group.

The government announced long-awaited reforms to ‘level up’ the leasehold system at the start of the year, including scrapping ground rents and ensuring leaseholders can extend effectively forever.

However, without a timetable for implementation, homeowners who would have started leasehold enfranchisement proceedings to secure their home this year have been left waiting for reform to be implemented.

Jonathan Frankel, litigation partner at Cavendish Legal Group, said: “The frustrating lack of progress on this issue is forcing many leaseholders into very difficult decisions and what we are seeing is two distinct groups emerging as a result.

“For landlords it may not be such a big issue as they’re likely to be generating income from their property and can probably afford to wait it out.

“But there are a lot of leaseholders who desperately want to start enfranchisement proceedings to secure the freehold, or seek a lease extension, on their property and they are now in a potentially very costly waiting game.

“These are people who ordinarily could have started down that route but are waiting for these reforms to kick in, so they’re not in the market right now.

“It’s like an extremely high stakes round of cards where leaseholders are being left to gamble on whether they should stick or twist; either wait for the reforms to be implemented or act now.

“It is a desperate position to be in, particularly for leaseholders who need to sell up this year or whose leasehold has only a limited number of years left to run.”

“Whatever leaseholders in this unenviable position decide to do, it is crucial to ensure they get the right advice from a legal team with specialist knowledge in this area.

“It’s not a legal process that most high street solicitors will have experience in, so we would always urge people to seek out specialists for the best advice.”

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