Law Society urge the government to bring forward their proposals

The Law Society of England and Wales has welcomed the ban on the sale of new leasehold homes but is urging for no further delay in announcing ground rent reforms. The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill, which had its second reading in the House of Lords, includes amendments to restrict the sale of new leasehold houses, ensuring that every new house in England and Wales will be freehold from the outset in most cases.

Nick Emmerson, President of the Law Society, expressed support for these provisions, emphasizing that houses should typically be sold as freehold unless there are exceptional circumstances warranting a leasehold tenure. Additionally, the Law Society supports the Law Commission’s 2011 proposals to reform freehold law, which would facilitate the easier sale of houses on managed estates as freehold. Emmerson also welcomed proposals aimed at making service charges clearer and improving the provision of information required for home purchases and sales.

However, Emmerson highlighted the need for clarity on ground rent reforms, expressing concern over recent speculation about scrapping the reforms, which has created additional uncertainty in the sector. The Law Society urges the government to expedite the announcement of its proposals to allow for proper scrutiny. Furthermore, Emmerson suggested considering retrospective provisions to cap ground rents in existing leases, cautioning that the use of retrospective legislation should be carefully considered to avoid undermining the reputation of English law.

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