New measures to help leaseholders extend leases

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced that millions of leaseholders will be given the right to extend their lease by a maximum term of 990 years at zero ground rent.

Forming part of the biggest reforms to English property law for 40 years, it is believed that the changes could save households from thousands to tens of thousands of pounds.

Under the current law many people face high ground rents, which combined with a mortgage, can make it feel like they are paying rent on a property they own. Freeholders can increase the amount of ground rent with little or no benefit seen to those faced with extra charges. It can also lengthen and lead to increased costs when buying or selling the property.

The changes will mean that any leaseholder who chooses to extend their lease on their home will no longer pay any ground rent to the freeholder, enabling those who dream of fully owning their home to do so without cumbersome bureaucracy and additional, unnecessary and unfair expenses.

The government is also now establishing a Commonhold Council - a partnership of leasehold groups, industry and government - that will prepare homeowners and the market for the widespread take-up of commonhold.

Jenrick said: “Across the country people are struggling to realise the dream of owning their own home but find the reality of being a leaseholder far too bureaucratic, burdensome and expensive. We want to reinforce the security that home ownership brings by changing forever the way we own homes and end some of the worst practices faced by homeowners. These reforms provide fairness for 4.5 million leaseholders and chart a course to a new system altogether.”