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Give the Law Commission your views on how to improve commonhold

1 March 2018

The Law Commission has published a call for evidence on commonhold. This is the first step in their project to reform the law of commonhold.

They want to find out why ‘fewer than 20 commonholds have been created since the commonhold legislation came into force’, and what can be done to make the regime more successful.

In December 2017 the Housing Minister stated that government will ‘ban leaseholds for almost all new build houses and ground rents on new long leases – for both houses and flats – will be set at zero’. We responded to government’s consultation on tackling unfair practices in the leasehold market and expressed that we would be keen to participate in any review of commonhold legislation.

The Law Commission states that commonhold ‘has the potential to revolutionise how people own flats in England and Wales and has wider potential for other developments’. It believes that commonhold has many advantages over leasehold including:

  • Ownership doesn’t run out – leases expire and extending them can be expensive
  • Standard rules and regulations apply – which should mean that everyone knows what their obligations are even when they move
  • Having a legal interest in the whole building – similar to having a share of the freehold, instead of being managed by a landlord/management company, owners of the individual units manage the shared areas and services themselves.

The Law Commission asks:

  • What are the difficulties in creating or converting to commonhold?
  • What issues make commonhold unattractive to homeowners?
  • What issues make commonhold unattractive in the wider property sector?

The call for evidence seeks observations from anyone with an interest in commonhold. The Law Commission are particularly keen to hear from solicitors, conveyancers, leaseholders, developers, insurers and mortgage lenders. If you have dealt with commonhold, either by setting one up, or by buying or selling an individual unit, we would like to know what your experience was and how you think this could be improved.

The call for evidence closes on 19 April 2018.

Read and respond to the 12 questions set out in the call for evidence  

Give us your views for consideration by the Conveyancing and Land Law Committee when preparing the Law Society response

We are seeking initial views by 15:00 on 22 March.

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