Leasehold reform has been mooted for a number of years now and following the Law Commission's reports published in 2020, those advising clients on leasehold property have been waiting with baited breath to see if and when the proposed reforms may come to pass. In a series of announcements at the start of 2023, Michael Gove, Secretary of State at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, affirmed plans to scrap the ‘feudal’ leasehold system and that the new legislation will be introduced in the next King’s Speech. However, last week the Financial Times reported that Gove "has been given a green light to bring forward a fresh leasehold reform bill in the autumn, with a view to changing the system in England and Wales — but not scrapping it — before the election". The article goes on to quote The Department of Levelling Up saying: “We are building a housing market that works for everyone and that is why next week we will bring forward the renters reform bill and leasehold reforms later in this parliament…These changes will give renters and leaseholders more protections and empower them to challenge unreasonable costs.”
For some time I have written about pending changes for landlords and leaseholders. However, set against the backdrop of one black swan event after another, enfranchisement claims seemed low on the list of government priorities and I had suggested that one might be tempted to confine the matter to the long grass. Nevertheless, I had warned that one should not make that assumption, and the series of recent announcements suggests that the reform is firmly on the agenda. At this stage, we still have very little information as to what is planned and exactly when it will happen, but some form of change is certainly looking likely to be ever closer.