The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee recently published the report from its inquiry into leasehold reform.
Ban on selling new builds as leasehold
The report, which the Committee published last month, made several recommendations to the government. One of these recommendations is banning the sale of new leasehold houses; the government has already committed to this.
Sue Painting, Licensed Conveyancer at Wosskow Brown’s Barnsley Office, agrees that this is a great idea.
“There is no sensible reason for a house to be sold leasehold. Many people say they are only sold leasehold because the builders are greedy”, she said.
You can choose your own Conveyancer
Furthermore, the report meticulously analysed the work of conveyancing solicitors that had been recommended to clients by developers. The Committee worries that developers and conveyancing solicitors are becoming too close, and therefore solicitors aren’t prioritising clients’ interests.
Sue urges that all buyers of new build properties should be allowed to use any Conveyancer they want, who will remain totally independent.
She said: “Unfortunately, the Conveyancers on the ‘preferred’ lists often forget who their own client is, thereby creating their own conflict situation.”
Another recommendation made by the Committee is to require developers and estate agents to provide potential purchasers with key sales information right at the start of the process. This aims to avoid any potential complications that may arise later as a result of confusion or lack of understanding.
Restriction on ground rent
The government has actually already committed to some reforms, including restricting ground rents in future leases to £10.
Sue expressed her relief at this news: “Government action is long overdue on the ground rent situation.
“Escalating ground rents on some blocks of flats have made them unsaleable due to Lenders not accepting them and the ground rent very quickly becoming unaffordable, so regulation would be ideal”, she added.
The next stage is for the government to consider the proposals detailed in the Committee’s report. They will probably respond within the next two months.