A radical shake-up of leasehold laws will prevent future home owners being trapped in “unfair” contracts, a leading Ludlow property lawyer says.
Richard Connolly, partner at Corve Street-based law firm mfg Solicitors, says the sweeping changes, the biggest in English property law for 40 years, will save buyers and tenants potentially thousands of pounds in fees as they will no longer be tied into costly leasehold contracts.
Under the proposed new rules, which were unveiled this month, new houses can no longer be leased, while all new-build homes from now on must be sold as freehold, preventing buyers from being trapped by conditions they cannot change.
It means buyers will no longer be made to pay ground rent to a leaseholder, on top of their mortgage costs, for little or no benefit.
Mr Connolly said: “For many leaseholders, charges such as ground rent feel like throwing money away and paying rent on a house or flat they already own.
“The new rules are a game changer and will be a real help to tenants. The law has always tended to favour the landlord but this is a major rebalancing exercise and will prevent generations of future home owners from being trapped in an unfair contract.”
The changes also mean the owners of all flats will be given the right to extend their leases to 990 years, up from the current extension of 90 years added to their remaining term.
The costs of the lease extension process to the tenant would also be reduced and it will be easier for tenants to buy the freehold of their buildings.