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Major changes in leasehold law: ALEP director Mark Chick comments on new reforms

Major changes in leasehold law: ALEP director Mark Chick comments on new reforms


The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill, recently enacted, marks one of the most significant legislative changes in the residential leasehold sector in the past 21 years

According to Mark Chick, Director of the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP), the passing of the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act 2024 represents a major shift in the law regarding residential long leasehold enfranchisement.

Mark Chick highlighted ALEP's longstanding advocacy for change in the sector, noting the association's continuous efforts to engage with the government over legislative reforms since its inception over 16 years ago. He commended the Law Commission's work in 2018 and its final reports in 2020, which laid the groundwork for the new legislation. The government’s response, though delayed, culminated in the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill—a legislative answer that addresses key issues like the removal of marriage value for leases under 80 years and a ban on new leasehold houses.

Despite these advancements, Mark Chick described the legislation as somewhat "piecemeal," making radical changes to the valuation regime that benefit leaseholders at the expense of freeholders. While welcoming the reforms, he expressed concern over the hurried nature of the legislative process and potential unintended consequences, drawing parallels with issues seen in the Building Safety Act 2022.

ALEP members, eager to advise their clients on the new law, seek clarity on the commencement dates of various provisions. Chick emphasized the need for certainty, especially as the sector enters a period of restricted activity leading up to the general election. He anticipates that further legislative actions, particularly concerning ground rents and secondary legislation, will likely be postponed until after the election.

Mark Chick concluded by reaffirming ALEP's commitment to engaging with future governments to continue pursuing reforms in this area, underscoring the association’s dedication to ensuring a workable and effective system for all stakeholders in the residential leasehold sector.