News and Articles

CMA issues ground rent update

23/06/2021

The CMA has published an update in relation to their ground rent investigation. It has confirmed that it has secured undertakings from two key developers to recitfy onerous lease terms. The terms of the undertakings are significant and could have far-reaching consequences for others. The full press release can be found here.

Ground Rent legislation confirmed in Queen's Speech

21/05/2021

Following the Government's previous commitment to ban ground rents for new leases, the Ground Rent bill was mentioned during the Queen's Speech today. It reconfirmed the commitment to the ban and we now await sight of the bill to see what has and has not been included within it.

Members of the new Commonhold Council confirmed

14/05/2021

Following the announcement in January 2021 of the creation of a new specialist commonhold committee, the Government has now released further information. The update includes a list of the members, the terms of reference and an overview. The announcement shows the Government's keen commitment to make commonhold work as a viable alternative to leasehold going forward. The wide range of expertise on the committee is also indicative of this dedication. The full press release and documents can be found here.

The "Cambridge Report" on service charges is released by MHCLG

13/05/2021

In 2018, the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research at the University of Cambridge was commissioned by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to prepare an independent report on leasehold and freehold charges. The report has now been published in full and includes various statistics provided by a wide range of stakeholders. We are delighted that Mari Knowles was invited to assist with this research project. The full report can be found here.

Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill released in full

12/05/2021

We are pleased to see the swift release of the full Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill on the Parliamentary website following reference to it in the Queen's Speech yesterday. On a quick glance, it confirms that ground rents will be banned for new leases and also for the extended term of any informal lease extension. Proposed new penalties will be introduced to tackle any ground rents unlawfully demanded. The definition of a ground rent appears widely drafted to capture any less obvious ground rent. We will update our website once we have reviewed the Bill in full. In the meantime, the Bill can be found here.


"What is commonhold?"

19/04/2021

Matthew Lewis chats to Block Management about commonhold - what is it, why is it better than leasehold, what do the reforms man? In an insightful interview, Matthew unpicks the thorny questions surrounding commonhold. Commonhold may become more popular in future years thanks to the reforms and this podcast is a great way to find out more about it. If you would like to listen to the podcast, it can be found on Spotify or Apple here.

Is forfeiture about to be abolished?

05/04/2021

In 2006, the Law Commission undertook work to review forfeiture in their "Termination of Tenancies" project. Various recommendations were made within their report including a look at the recovery of costs and a new streamlined process called the "statutory termination scheme" to replace forfeiture. The Law Commission has now launched a consultation on viable areas of law which ought to be included in their Fourteen Programme of Works. The Law Commission has provided a list of possible projects, one of which includes a review of commercial leasehold. Within this, there is scope fo the Termination of Tenancies project to be revived with a view to implementing the revised recommendations into law. If you would like to have your say on forfeiture, the Law Commission consultation is open until 31 July 2021. The link to the Law Commission can be found here.

April webinar dates confirmed

28/03/2021

Continuing with our popular monthly webinar series, we have now finalised our schedule for April. We have included our ever-popular service charge triology on 20th and 21st April (including a dedicated major works session), a session on lease extension basics and pitfalls on 20th April and our cladding basics session on 27th April. We are delighted that Amanda Gourlay will be running a dedicated litigation costs session too. If you would like to join us for our sessions, please contact us on advice@commonlease.co.uk.

CMA issues update on ground rent investigation

19/03/2021

The Competition and Markets Authority has today confirmed that it requires Countryside and Taylor Wimpey to remove the onerous ground rent review provisions in affected leases. The announcement does not contain sufficient detail to establish whether Countryside and Taylor Wimpey can replace the onerous terms with alternative ground rent provisions or if the ground rent must be expunged entirely. We await further detail. The full statement from the CMA can be found here.

Welsh Government confirms commitment to leasehold reforms

17/03/2021

The Welsh Government has released a statement today to confirm their commitment to mirror various reforms ongoing in England. The statement references zero ground rents, together with a pledge to enact various recommendations made by the Law Commission relating to enfranchisement, commonhold and right to manage. The news is very much welcomed in Wales where leaseholders have faced similar difficulties as those in England. The full statement from the Welsh Government can be found here.

Matt Lewis writes for News on the Block

25/02/2021

"When should agents call in lawyers" - Matt Lewis sets out his views on the difficult line between management and legal. In an evolving leasehold landscape, knowing who is responsbile for what with ever-changing laws can be difficult. Matt writes a useful article based on his experiences working with various managing agents on the South Coast.

BBC Radio 4 "You and Yours" invites Dona

08/02/2021

Dona was invited to speak to the Radio 4 show "You and Yours" on the subject of leasehold retirement properties today. The subject has caught the attention of the press in recent times following various Government announcements on leasehold reforms. More recently, in the context of retirement properties, this includes the ground rent ban which will now apply to retirement properties (previous plans having excluded the retirement sector from the ban) and right to manage of retirement properties. The full programme can be found here.

The Commonhold Council

06/02/2021

On 07 January 2021, the Government confirmed the creation of a "Commonhold Council". The purpose of the Council will be to prepare the industry for commonhold. There has been no announcement as to whether commonhold may become mandatory in future, but the creation of this council seems to suggest that this may well be the direction of travel. This month we will be hosting a dedicated session on commonhold as part of our webinar series, at which we will discuss whether commonhold ought to be mandatory and how it will affect existing leaseholders. For more information about this session, please contact us on advice@commonlease.co.uk


"Know your lease" webinar

31/01/2021

Following our ongoing webinar series, we are delighted to confirm that eminent barrister Amanda Gourlay will be running a session via her blog, Law and Lease. Amanda's session will look at essential lease clauses, where to find them and the basics with a specific emphasis on service charges. Having worked and spoken with Amanda at various events over the years, we have no doubt that this session will be a success. The session will be run on Wednesday 10 February at 6pm and the booking form can be found here.

Pets and leasehold properties

28/01/2021

The Government has today announced a new "standard tenancy agreement" for rental properties which assumes pets will be permitted. Landlords will no longer be able to issue a blanket ban on pets. A landlord will only be able to object to a request to keep a pet where there is a good reason. Whilst this is positive news for renters, one wonders where this will leave those who rent flats from leaseholders. Many long leases expressly ban pets which we assume will fall within the "good reason" exemption. Legally it may seem straightforward but we question whether it will be that straightforward in practice. We have a full article available on request. The Government's full announcement can be found here.

BBC Moneybox invites Dona to discuss the reforms

20/01/2021

We are delighted that our Dona was invited to speak as a guest on BBC Moneybox to discuss the reforms announcement. The BBC dedicated the programme to the announcements made by the Government on 07 January 2021. Dona was invited as a leasehold reform specialist to discuss what this meant for leaseholders and answered various questions from listeners. If you would like to listen to the programme, details can be found here.

Government backs controversial Law Commission proposals

07/01/2021

Almost one year after the Law Commission's valuation report was published, the Government has now confirmed that it intends to adopt the most radical valuation proposal - Scheme 1. The valuation announcement today includes removal of marriage value, prescription of rates and an online calculator to name but a few. The announcement also confirms 990-year lease extensions and reversal of the retirement sector exemption from the ground rent ban. The Government's full announcement can be found here.

End of year round up

31/12/2020

It has been a busy year for leasehold reform and for our team this year. We have had numerous updates from Government on a range of leasehold and commonhold reform agendas, which will no doubt pave the way for a busy 2021. On our part, we are pleased to have assisted over 300 leaseholders via our free webinar series and pro bono scheme. Our team has also expanded to meet the growning need for reform lawyers and we have welcomed Dona Awano, Matthew Lewis and Elin Dukes. Mari and Emily both continue their Government work on the reforms. We take this opportunity to thank everyone for the support given during what has been a rather unprecedented year. 

Dona attends virtual APPG on Leasehold and Commonhold Reform

10/12/2020

Dona was delighted to attend the All Party Parliamentary Group's meeting on 10 December which had a particular emphasis on cladding. The event was well attended and included a detailed question and answer session. The session reconfirmed the extent of the cladding crisis and the need to press ahead with substantial changes to the way the industry works. Cladding remediation for existing leaseholders was a particular concern.

Webinars confirmed for next 3 months

30/11/2020

We are pleased to confirm that our webinar sessions will continue throughout December, January and February. We now offer a range of 15 different sessions including commonhold and leasehold conveyancing. Most of sessions take place at either 1pm or 7pm. Followng the success of our service charge trilogy since launched in March, we will be running the trilogy every month due to high demand. If you would like details of our sessions, please contact us for details.

Understanding your lease structure

12/11/2020

Whether you are a leaseholder, landlord or managing agent, the starting point in any discussion is to understand the lease provisions. Issues can often arise where leases exist, but before you explore the options, you first need to understand who the relevant parties to your lease are. Matthew Lewis has written a helpful advice note as part of our free service charge library to explain the various structures that can exist. Please contact us if you would like us to send you a copy of Matthew's latest advice note or for details of our free service charge library.

Welcome to Matthew Lewis!

02/11/2020

During an unprecedented year, we are pleased to welcome Matthew Lewis to our landlord and tenant team. Matthew is vastly experienced in both enfranchisement and litigation matters. Matthew joins the team having acquired a particular interest in the ongoing leasehold reforms, which CLE remains heavily involved in. Matthew will be based in Dorset, and will continue to run the Leasehold Management Professionals alongside his private practice.

Ladies Lunch Club anniversary

22/09/2020

CLE has been the proud sponsor of the Ladies Lunch Club Brighton events this year. The LLC works tirelessly to support and bring together local businesses. The LLC has been a particularly invaluable support network this year in extraordinarily difficult times. LLC, run by Lara Squires, has held their events virtually since the Spring, and whilst we have missed the personal contact, it has still been very nice to catch up with the group regularly. The LLC celebrates their 15th year this year and CLE sends their congratulations and best wishes for the next 15 years!

Welcome to Dona Awano!

08/09/2020

We are delighted to welcome Dona to our landlord and tenant litigation team. Dona worked for many years at the Leasehold Advisory Service before moving to the leasehold reform team at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government where she worked with CLE director, Mari Knowles. Dona will be using her wealth of experience to assist our clients in litigation cases in a notoriously tricky area of law.

CMA launches enforcement action against developers

04/09/2020

The Competition and Markets Authority has been investigating the mis-selling of new build properties for the last year. The CMA has today announced that they will be taking action against four key developers involved and has provided a comprehensive update on their website. We anticipate that today's announcement is likely to raise many questions and we look forward to seeing what happens next. Read the CMA's article here.