Leasehold reform action group sets out new objectives

The Campaign for the Abolition of Residential Leasehold has revised it’s objectives are as follows : 

"1. Make commonhold compulsory for all new developments of blocks of flats. Since commonhold – a much fairer system of tenure than leasehold – is now available, there is no reason why any more new residential leases should be sold. Hardly any other countries have leasehold tenure.

2. England and Wales should follow the lead of our immediate neighbours, Scotland and Ireland, in having legislation in place specifically designed to abolish
leasehold tenure.

3. Enable leaseholders who buy their freeholds to transfer directly to commonhold on the basis of a simple majority vote. Perhaps a route could be found to allow individual leaseholders to switch direct to commonhold tenure.

4. Establish a simple formula to determine the transfer price from leasehold to commonhold, set at a level that is fair to all parties. This should recognise that
the leasehold interest has paid in full for the land, the construction of the property, its repair and maintenance, and have also contributed substantially to the profits of

the landlord/developer. Moreover, leaseholders will also have paid for all the standard scams and frauds pulled on them by landlords and managing agents over the years. The Irish land registry has a simple formula in place to value the freehold. If the lease has more than fifteen years to run, the freehold is valued at a  multiple of the annual ground rent. If the lease has less than fifteen years to run, the valuation is also linked to the market value of the property. However, at no point are leaseholders required to pay more than one-eighth of the market value of their homes.

5. End forfeiture, since this process enables landlords to recover a huge multiple of service charges/ground rent due, and thereby breaches Article 1 Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Require all landlords to subscribe to the housing ombudsman scheme so that all parties have direct access to a straightforward and inexpensive method of resolving disputes, rather than the costly Residential Property Tribunal Service. Step up enforcement procedures against criminal landlords by centralising the prosecution service away from ineffectual local authorities. Reduce costs by taking away the responsibility of LEASE towards advising well funded landlords and solicitors, thereby limiting its responsibilities solely to advising leaseholders. ”