Official Report Backs Binning Leasehold But Some Owners ‘still Worried’

Ditching leaseholds is ‘entirely possible’ although some flat owners still aren’t convinced about moving across to commonhold, a government report has concluded.

It explains that while reaching a point at which most existing flats are owned without a third-party landlord or are commonhold is ‘not impossible’, the process of moving to different ownership or management structures was considered a significant barrier.

Many felt it would be too time-consuming or costly and were concerned about the potential for disagreements with neighbours.

A DLUHC study – Living in and looking after shared buildings: the perspective of leaseholders and prospective flat buyers – found that people were initially excited by the idea of taking more control but, once they considered it further, had some concerns about how it would work in practice and whether they or their neighbours had sufficient skills and spare time to carry out the function properly.

But it believes that providing more details about appointing external directors or using a management company could help reassure flat owners that they will not necessarily have to take on large amounts of additional responsibility.

Meanwhile, many thought commonhold would give them greater control, be democratic and transparent.

The Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners believes the report clearly shows the intended direction of travel for leasehold reform.

No awareness Director Mark Chick (pictured) says most participants had no awareness of the right to manage in leasehold, nor that commonhold is an alternative to leasehold.

He adds: “The report shows that although awareness of commonhold is low, when participants were provided with more information about commonhold ownership, they generally viewed it positively in theory.”

Earlier this year, Housing Secretary Michael Gove dropped plans to abolish leaseholds in England and Wales after Downing Street officials argued there was not enough time to enact such major reforms.

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