05/06/2020

No worries over delay to leasehold law changes

Jon Clifford - Colour

No-one should be concerned about a delay in the simplification of rules surrounding leaseholders’ rights to buy or extend their leases, according to Thursfields Solicitors, who said that a long-awaited update on what’s known as leasehold enfranchisement has been put back by COVID-19.

But experts at Thursfields said they had been involved in detailed consultations with the Law Commission over the changes and would be ready to act on them as soon as they are announced.

The review involves how rules are applied to leaseholders’ rights to purchase the freehold of their house, take part with other leaseholders in a collective purchase of the freehold of a group of flats, or to extend the lease of their house or flat.

Jon Clifford, a director in the Disputes Resolution team at Thursfields, said: “The current legislation is complex, inconsistent and costly, with the rules contained in over 50 Acts of Parliament variable depending on a complete mismatch of circumstances.

“These range from whether or not a leaseholder qualifies to how much the lease extension or freehold is worth to the parties involved, with landlords and tenants seldom agreeing on this.

“This complex detail has kept professionals, courts and tribunals busy for years but thankfully the whole process has been subject to a Law Commission consultation paper setting out sweeping reform with the aim of making the whole process clearer, cheaper  and fit for purpose.

“This consultation closed on 7 January last year and the Law Commission has been working on it since then, with the results due to have been announced this spring.

“For obvious reasons this has been slightly delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but leaseholders, landlords and other interested parties should not be worried by this.”

Jon explained that as members of the Property Litigation Association, one of the driving organisations involved in the consultations with the Law Commission, Thursfields’ property team was in a strong position to implement the new regulations just as soon as they are enacted

He added: “Here at Thursfields we are experienced hands at dealing with all matters relating to leasehold enfranchisement, from the initial enquiry seeking advice, preparing and serving the appropriate notices, negotiating the contract of sale and, if necessary, assisting with formation of a limited company as a vehicle to hold the freehold once acquired.

“Of course, where matters cannot be agreed then we will also represent our clients at court or tribunal (although, hopefully, this should be less often once the reforms are in place).

“Therefore, while the long-awaited decision on reforms will be just a little longer in emerging, Thursfields’ litigators and transactional lawyers can offer the best advice both now and in the future.”

Anyone with leasehold enfranchisement issues can contact Jon Clifford on 01905 730 486, or can email him at jclifford@thursfields.co.uk.

Jon Clifford - Colour 2

Jon Clifford,

Director, Agricultural and Rural Affairs

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