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Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act 2024 – An Update

Property Disputes Partner and Head of the Leasehold Enfranchisement team, John Midgley, shares the latest on the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act 2024

Just after the Prime Minister called the General Election last week, the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act 2024 was given Royal Assent.

The Act makes some major changes to leasehold enfranchisement but – as yet – there is no date for when the measures will come into force.

Given the General Election, we do not expect the enfranchisement provisions in the Act to be commenced any time soon and, given a reply to a parliamentary question, they may not come in until 2025/ 2026.

The headline changes to enfranchisement law that are made in this Act are as follows:

  1. Lease extensions of houses and flats are to be for 990 years (instead of 90 years on top of the term remaining at present)
  2. The requisite 2-year registered ownership rule in order to be entitled to a lease extension claim is to be scrapped (so a leaseholder could start the process as soon as their ownership is registered at the Land Registry)
  3. In both collective enfranchisement and lease extension claims, if a lease has less than 80 years remaining on its term, marriage value is payable to the landlord as part of the purchase price for the freehold or the new lease. Under the new law, the payment of marriage value is abolished – which, if implemented, could lead to a significant saving for lessees
  4. The government will prescribe deferment and capitalisation rates in secondary legislation (so we will have to wait and see what the impact of this may be)
  5. The qualification criteria for collective enfranchisement and right to manage (RTM) claims in mixed use premises (e.g. part commercial/part residential) changes in that lessees will be able to exercise their rights if the non-residential parts amount to 50% of the building (as opposed to 25% at present)
  6. Landlords will be obliged to take a leaseback of non-participating flats and non-qualifying areas of the building in collective enfranchisement claims, such as commercial units, which has the potential to make the price payable for the freehold cheaper
  7. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, in most cases the landlord will not be able to recover its legal and valuation fees
  8. New leasehold houses are to be banned – except for categories of permitted leases.

 

If you would like specific advice on your own circumstances and whether to wait or ‘press go’ on a lease extension, collective enfranchisement or right to manage claim, please contact our Head of Leasehold Enfranchisement, John Midgley on 020 7725 8068 or by email: john.midgley@seddons.co.uk

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