Time to reform rules around leasehold charges

The unforeseen charges faced by some purchasers of leasehold properties could be addressed if developers and estate agents complied with consumer protection regulations by giving information up front, the Law Society of England and Wales said today.

“Under consumer protection regulations* key sales information is supposed to be set out at the start of the purchasing process and we are glad the Housing, Communities and Local Government committee (HCLG) report acknowledges this,”* said Law Society president Christina Blacklaws.

"The Law Society has long called for developers and estate agents to share lease information with the purchaser at the beginning of the process as required under the consumer protection regulations.

“Consumers should also seek out independent legal advice from a solicitor as they are highly regulated and carry substantial indemnity insurance for the rare occasions things go wrong.

“We have been clear there are significant issues with leasehold law as it now stands. We have consistently called out some of the questionable practices that have arisen around the management of leaseholds and made the case for subsequent reform to ensure home owners get a fair deal.

“One solution could be to improve commonhold legislation as another option. The Law Commission is currently consulting on a set of proposed changes to make the current system more attractive and workable - a move we have supported and will be contributing towards making a success.”

Notes to editors

*Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (SI 2008/1277)

** The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee report Leasehold Reform is released on 19 March 2019.

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Liam McCafferty | liam.mccafferty@lawsociety.org.uk | 020 804 9028

Maximise your Law Society membership with My LS