Government Reforms

In July 2020, various announcements were made relating to the ongoing leasehold reforms. This page explains the basics of reforming the law in general terms. Our Articles page sets out information relating to the specific announcements made and details of our free webinars relating to the reforms.   

The background

In December 2016, the government announced that it intended to review the commonhold and leasehold systems with a view to reforming the laws to make it quicker, simpler and, if possible, cheaper for leaseholders. Additional reviews are underway for regulation of managing agents, service charge issues and conveyancing processes. The Competition and Markets Authority is also conducting a review of unfair lease terms which is ongoing. We are now seeing recommendations coming through, but the reforms are ongoing and are unlikely to conclude until at least 2021.

Who is who? 

Law Commission 

For technical areas of law, the Ministry outsources the researching and options to the Law Commission, which is an independent body. The Law Commission conducts a review before reporting to the Ministry with its recommendations for reform. 

Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (“MHCLG”) 

The department responsible for researching options for new laws and for advising the Secretary of State of those options are and which are most viable. 

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government 

Responsible for any law relating to housing, communities and local government, including commonhold and leasehold laws. Considers the options presented to it by the Ministry, deciding which option is most viable before presenting the final solution to the Government. 

Government 

Decides what the new laws should be and presents these laws to Parliament for voting.  

Parliament 

The two houses vote on whether to make the new laws suggested by Government. If the parties vote to introduce the new laws, this will eventually become the law.   

Law making process 

Stage 1: Research

Who: MHCLG or the Law Commission

Researching problems with the current law, deciding what needs to be reformed and exploring options for reform. The findings are set out in a consultation paper.  

Stage 2: Consultation

Who: The public

The public will be given the consultation paper and asked questions about the proposals set out in that paper.

Stage 3: Recommendation

Who: MHCLG or the Law Commission

The paper will be revised to make final recommendations, taking into account feedback given during the consultation stage.  

Stage 4: Assessment

Who: Secretary of State

Deciding which option is the most viable from the recommendations given. 

Stage 5: Referral

Who: Government

The Secretary of State will confirm the final proposal for reform to the Government, who will decide whether to pursue that option. 

Stage 6: Voting

Who: Parliament

If the government pursues the option, it will present that option to Parliament who will then vote on whether to make it law.

Stage 7: Implementation

Who: Draftsman

If Parliament votes to make it law, the draftsman will finalise the legislation and implement it.

Who is doing what?

Law being reviewed
Who
Leasehold enfranchisement 
Law Commission
Commonhold 
Law Commission
Right to manage
Law Commission
Unfair lease terms
CMA
Regulation of manging agents
MHCLG
Ground rent and leasehold house ban
MHCLG

How does this affect me? 

Until new laws are introduced by Parliament, the current laws and procedures will continue as they are. If you proceed with a commonhold or leasehold transaction now and the law changes in future, it is unlikely that the changes will apply retrospectively. There is however no guarantee that new laws will be introduced or what those laws will be.  Please contact us on advice@commonlease.co.uk if you wish to discuss the reforms in more detail as our advice on the best time to proceed will vary depending on your personal circumstances.  

How long will it take to reform commonhold and leasehold law? 

Most of the consultations are still in the researching and consultation stage and there are many stages left before becoming law. Current indications are that any new law will not come into force until 2021 at the earliest. This is strictly subject to change.

Where can I get more information? 

We regularly run free webinar sessions explaining the reforms plus a range of other commonhold and leasehold related topics. Please contact us on advice@commonlease.co.uk for more information.

The Law Commission - Residential leasehold and commonhold 

GOV.UK - Housing, local and community 

CLE has set out general information above to give an overview of the law-making process. The information given does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on for specific cases. Legal advice must always be obtained relating to the facts of your case.