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New online portal offers Londoners advice on leasehold properties

The Greater London Authority (GLA) has launched a new advisory service to give advice to leaseholders and those looking to buy a leasehold property.

The online portal will provide information on the tenure, which affects more than a third of all homes in London. Meanwhile, 90 percent of new-build properties are also sold as leasehold.

Reform of system planned

Leasehold properties are those where the ownership of the land remains with the landlord or freeholder and the homeowner never owns the property outright. The property owners enters into a legal agreement or lease with the freeholder. The lease usually runs for a long period of time, often hundreds of years.

However, ownership of the property will always return to the landlord when the lease runs out, meaning it is imperative that leaseholders only purchase a property where the lease still has a long period of time to run.

The Government intends to reform the leasehold system, which affects around 4.5 million properties in England and Wales. The Law Commission is currently carrying out a consultation into potential reforms.

Prioritise change to help leaseholders

Launching the new GLA portal, London’s deputy mayor for housing and development James Murray said London mayor Sadiq Khan was calling for the Government to prioritise changes in legislation to help leaseholders.

He said: “The mayor is urging government to prioritise legislation to help both new and existing leaseholders, and in the meanwhile we are doing all we can to help leaseholders in the capital with advice and guidance on their rights.

“For too many Londoners, being a leaseholder is a complex and confusing legal minefield.

“Beyond the financial commitments, the option of extending a lease or buying a freehold can present real legal and financial challenges for anyone who is not well versed in property law.

“The mayor’s new online guide will give London’s leaseholders the basic knowledge they need to understand their rights and will help them know what to do if they think those rights are being abused.”

The new portal will offer information on to anyone already a leaseholder or who intends to buy a leasehold property. It will also include detail on how to extend a lease or how to pursue a freeholder who refuses to allow an extension.

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