The Government has taken a backward step after climbing down on a commitment to end the leasehold system this year.
That is the view of Alan Draper, a leading campaigner for leasehold reform, after it was revealed the radical move would not now be happening due to a lack of parliamentary time.
That is despite repeated promises from Housing Secretary Michael Gove to push through legislation to scrap leasehold schemes in 2023.
Alan, Managing Director of property management firm Common Ground, said: “Despite Government claims to the contrary, this means residents will continue to be ripped off by freeholders imposing unfair charges on them.
“This a feudal system that should have been scrapped years ago. We will now have to wait until after the next election before genuine reform can be introduced and who knows how long that will be.”
Instead of scrapping leaseholds altogether, the Government is expected to focus on measures such as capping ground rents and ways of making it easier for leaseholders to buy the freehold of their home.
However, Alan wants to see leasehold replaced by commonhold where, instead of properties being owned by companies who charge ground rents and management fees, residents take over common ownership of their homes.
There are around 10 million leasehold owners in England and Wales, many of them flats in cities.
Plans to introduce a commonhold system stretch back to 1997 but were never enacted by the Labour government.
In 2020 the Law Commission was brought in to review the current system leading to legislation last year which effectively abolished ground rents but only on new leases granted after June 2022.
Alan added: “The Government is worried about the political effect of scrapping leaseholds and is just tinkering with the system.
“Meanwhile, thousands of people continue to pay over the odds to unscrupulous freeholders. We will continue to campaign until a genuinely fair commonhold system is introduced.”