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The Impending Transformation of Residential Leases in England and Wales

October 25, 2023

Property law in England and Wales is on the brink of transformation, with 4.9 million residential leases hanging in the balance. The debate over the future of these leases has reached a crucial point, with anticipated legislative changes looming, yet the specifics remain uncertain.

Residential leasehold, a system where homeowners buy the right to live in a property for a set period, has faced growing scrutiny. Given the current system's shortcomings, nearly 80% of legal and property professionals recognise the need for reform.

The Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP), representing 1,200 experts in leasehold matters, surveyed at their October conference. An overwhelming 77.37% called for reform, reinforcing the consensus for change.

The complexity of leasehold law, which has evolved over centuries and impacts millions, demands a cautious approach. Rushed legislative changes could lead to unintended issues, cautioned ALEP's director, Mark Chick.

The government is poised to introduce a Leasehold Reform Bill in the upcoming King's Speech, signalling broad political support for change. The Labour Party goes further, pledging complete abolition if victorious in the next general election. However, ALEP raises the question: Is abolishing leasehold feasible in one swift move?

Instead, ALEP advocates a considered approach and widespread consultation to navigate the complex terrain of reform. They intend to actively shape these changes, supporting policymakers as they navigate uncharted territory.

The future of 4.9 million residential leases in England and Wales will be shaped by a careful balance of deliberation, dialogue, and the best interests of homeowners. Professionals and politicians must collaborate to redefine the leasehold system for the better.

If you want to learn more, contact our conveyancing team, who can help discuss this further.

Information gathered from Inside Conveyancing, see here.

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