Skip to main content

Government’s Leasehold Reform Initiative: A Recipe for Overpromising and Underdelivering – by Mark Wilson 9 November 2023

The government’s pledge to reform the leasehold system has been met with a wave of skepticism, as concerns mount over the potential for overpromising and underdelivering on the commitments made to leaseholders. The initiative, driven by popularist soundbites of making it “easier and cheaper” for leaseholders to extend their leases and buy their freeholds, has failed to provide a clear framework or concrete steps towards achieving these goals.

The lack of a detailed roadmap for implementation has left leaseholders disillusioned and questioning whether the government’s intentions match its actions. Without specific measures to reduce costs, simplify procedures, and improve access to information, the reforms appear more like political posturing than a genuine commitment to resolving the longstanding issues plaguing the leasehold sector.

The government’s simplistic approach of making things “easier and cheaper” fails to address the complex dynamics of the leasehold market and the inherent conflict of interest between leaseholders and freeholders. Whilst flat owners will relish the possible windfall of reform, simply reducing the price of extending leases or purchasing freeholds will not address the fundamental imbalances of power and the predatory practices that have plagued leaseholders for years

Any meaningful reform of the leasehold system must go beyond mere cost reductions and procedural simplifications. It requires a comprehensive overhaul of the system, including measures to regulate freeholder behaviour, establish independent dispute resolution mechanisms, and provide leaseholders with greater control over their homes.

The government’s current approach, driven by populist rhetoric and a lack of substance, is setting the stage for overpromising and underdelivering on the leasehold reform agenda. Leaseholders deserve concrete actions, not empty promises. The government must transition from soundbites to a comprehensive and actionable reform plan that addresses the root causes of the leasehold crisis and truly empowers leaseholders in owning their homes.