More leaseholders to own their own buildings

Leaseholders in England and Wales could find it easier and cheaper to buy the freehold of their building under new proposals to create a fairer housing system.

Homeowners and the housing industry are being invited to give their views on proposals from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to allow more leaseholders in mixed-use buildings to take control and ownership of their building.

The consultation follows the Housing Secretary Michael Gove announcing a major reset of the government’s approach to building safety this week, in which he told developers that they must pay to fix the cladding crisis and that leaseholders must be protected.

Under the current system, only some residential leaseholders in England and Wales can choose to buy their building outright through enfranchisement - or take over the management of their building, in what is known as a ‘right to manage’. New proposals could give these leaseholders the right to manage or buy their building outright, by increasing this limit to 50 per cent, enabling them to have more control over how shared facilities are run and have the final say on building maintenance costs.

Leasehold Minister Lord Stephen Greenhalgh said: “The current leasehold system is outdated, unbalanced and broken and we are determined to fix it. Our proposals aim to rebalance power and should see more leaseholders than ever before owning the full rights to their homes. This comes on top of our new approach building safety, which includes decisive action to protect leaseholders.”

The consultation will run for six weeks.

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