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What Does the UK’s New Leasehold Reform Act Mean for Me?

The UK’s Leasehold Reform Act of 2024 has just been passed, but what does this mean for you as a leaseholder? There have been a number of potentially positive changes aimed mostly at leaseholders and landlords, so let’s go through those and see how they can affect your future.

A Virtual Freehold

Firstly, how it worked previously when your lease approached 80 years, applying for a lease extension meant your landlord could extend it by 50-100 years, with 99 years being quite common. This is no longer the case. Now, when you seek a lease extension, it will be for a substantial 990 years, effectively creating what is known as a virtual freehold – a lease which is typically much longer than the norm. This change represents just the first stage of the Leasehold Reform Acts, so there’s no need to worry just yet.

Transparent Service Charges for Landlords

The next significant update under the new law mandates complete transparency regarding service charges. This means that landlords must charge only for necessary expenses, and you, as a leaseholder, will have the right to request a detailed breakdown of these charges. This transparency extends to include the insurance paid on the building, ensuring that all financial aspects are clear and fair.

Taking Over Management of a Freehold

Another major change is aimed at empowering leaseholders facing challenging situations in their apartment buildings. If you and other tenants wish to take over the management of your building and become shareholders of the freehold, this process will now be easier to accomplish under the new act. This change is designed to give leaseholders more control and potentially improve the management and maintenance of their living environments.

Freehold Versus Leasehold for New Properties

Most importantly, the new law stipulates that any new houses built must be freehold rather than leasehold. This change is intended to make it easier for you to sell your properties. While new houses must be freehold, apartments can still be leasehold because they are shared areas in the building that fall under the freehold element. This distinction between freehold and leasehold is important because of the types of properties affected by the reform and highlights the opportunities for you to make more money in the leasehold market.

One of these opportunities is Title Splitting. By splitting freehold properties and converting them into leasehold, there are significant chances to generate profit. The new rights granted to leasehold owners will help landlords to better manage their properties in future and capitalise on these opportunities.

What Do UK Leasehold Changes Mean for the Future of Property?

There’s been much talk about the future of property laws lately, especially with the upcoming elections and the potential for a change in government, which would inevitably bring new regulations and adjustments to existing ones. One notable update since 2021 though is that landlords can now charge only a peppercorn for ground rent under new leaseholds. This symbolic charge is designed to eliminate substantial ground rents that could escalate over time, creating a fairer system for leaseholders.

For landlords owning leasehold apartments, the shift towards a peppercorn ground rent is quite significant. Future governments are likely to continue this trend, possibly moving all leasehold apartments towards minimal ground rents. This is important and attractive for leaseholders. Historically, ground rents could increase substantially, but this change tries to prevent such escalation and make leasehold ownership more appealing and manageable for leaseholders.

The reduction in ground rents is a positive development for leaseholders, making leasehold properties more attractive and easier to sell. This shift helps landlords too, as it aligns their interests with leaseholders for more cooperative relationships. By reducing the financial burden on leaseholders, the market for leasehold properties will probably become more robust and dynamic.

At Title Split, we have been assisting landlords since 2020 in preparing their leases to comply with these new regulations. Our expertise ensures that you are ready for these changes when they land. With our guidance, you can navigate the evolving legal landscape and take advantage of the opportunities it presents – it’s a win-win for everyone!

Key Takeaways for Leaseholders and Landlords

  1. Lease Extension Changes: Leaseholders can now extend their leases to 990 years, creating a virtual freehold.

  2. Service Charge Transparency: Landlords must provide clear and detailed accounts of service charges, including building insurance.

  3. Easier Freehold Acquisition: Tenants can more easily take over the management of their buildings and become freehold shareholders.

  4. New Build Requirements: All new houses must be freehold, simplifying the property sale process.

  5. Ground Rent Reform: Ground rents are being reduced to a peppercorn or very low amounts, making leasehold properties more attractive and easier to sell.

  6. Title Splitting Opportunities: Splitting freehold properties into leasehold units can be a profitable venture under the new laws.

Keeping up with new laws and changes can be daunting but by staying informed and proactive, leaseholders and landlords can effectively adapt and make the most of the opportunities they present. The Leasehold Reform Act of 2024 aims to create a fairer, more transparent property market, benefiting all parties involved. Connect with us at Title Split so that we can help you navigate these changes and ensure that you are well-prepared for the future of property ownership!


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