Leasehold reform was among the measures outlined in King Charles III’s first King’s Speech as monarch at the state opening of parliament on 7 November 2023.
Outlined in the speech, the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill aims to make it cheaper and easier for leaseholders to either extend their lease or buy their freehold.
Ministers have for some time heralded reform the leasehold system, which has been described as ‘feudal’ and can mean high costs for people who own leasehold properties.
The new legislation will extend the standard lease length from 90 years to 990 years. It will also ban leaseholds for new houses in England and Wales – but not flats.
Ground rent will be capped at a minimal ‘peppercorn rent’ and leaseholder service charges will be required to become more transparent. The practice where leaseholders are expected to pay freeholders’ legal fees will also end.
Leaseholders won’t be required to have owned their properties two years before they benefit from the moves.
In his speech King Charles said: “My ministers will bring forward a bill to reform the housing market by making it cheaper and easier for leaseholders to purchase their freehold and tackling the exploitation of millions of homeowners through punitive service charges.”
The speech also contained mention of the government's Renters Reform Bill. The bill will end Section 21 no-fault evictions in England, while setting out grounds for landlords to regain possession of their properties. However, the government has announced that the changes will only come into force after reforms to the court system.
King Charles said in his speech: “Renters will benefit from stronger security of tenure and better value while landlords will benefit from reforms to provide certainty that they can regain their properties when needed.”
Read more about this story on the Property Wire website.