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Household Bills

Government looks to ‘abolish’ leasehold this year

Nick Cheek
Written By:
Nick Cheek

Michael Gove, secretary of state for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, has suggested that the leasehold system needs to be reformed or even ‘abolished’ entirely.

In media reports over the weekend, the housing secretary described the leasehold system as outdated and unfair.

In an interview with The Times yesterday, Gove said he wanted to abolish leasehold, adding: “I don’t believe leasehold is fair in any way. It is an outdated feudal system that needs to go. And we need to move to a better system and to liberate people from it.”  

He also suggested that legislation to amend it could be tabled later this year. 

Appearing on Sunday with Sophy Ridge on Sky News, Gove said: “We want to introduce legislation in the final parliamentary session — later this calendar year — in order to change the leasehold system. 

“It’s not easy in legal terms. When you’ve got a tangle of property laws going back hundreds of years, unstitching all of that is difficult. But the fundamental thing is that leasehold is just an unfair form of property ownership.

“In crude terms, if you buy a flat, that should be yours. You shouldn’t be on the hook for charges which managing agents and other people can land you with.” 

Reforms to the system 

In recent years, the government has made a number of changes in order to make the leasehold system fairer to leaseholders. 

Following an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) into doubling ground rents, housebuilders were forced to remove clauses which saw leaseholders pay fees which doubled every 10 to 15 years. 

Last year, it was announced that leaseholders would be refunded these costs. 

Regarding the costs placed on leaseholders to remediate unsafe cladding on high-rise buildings, the government introduced the Building Safety Bill which requires building owners to pay for construction.