Leasehold and Commonhold Reform

Housing, Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons on 20th July 2020.

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Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley Father of the House of Commons

What his timetable is for bringing forward legislative proposals on leasehold and commonhold reform.

Photo of Luke Hall Luke Hall Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

We are committed to reforming the leasehold market and have already set out that we will reduce ground rents to zero on future leases and ban new leasehold houses. We are also working with the Law Commission on enfranchisement, commonhold and right to manage. Given the impact of covid-19 on the agenda and the Government’s wider work to restart the economy, we will bring forward legislation on leasehold as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley Father of the House of Commons

Mr Speaker, if you and the Minister came to Worthing station and walked from there to my flat, you would walk past a site where Homes England could help Worthing Borough Council to produce extra social housing and potentially more leasehold or commonhold homes. Six times a year, on average, over the last 10 years, Ministers have talked of progress on ending leasehold abuse and providing better homes for the future, as my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said just now. This time, can we have action, and could Ministers also look at whether statutory instrument 2020/632, the Town and Country Planning (Permitted Development and Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020, takes into account the disbenefits to leaseholders of people putting extra storeys on leasehold blocks?

Photo of Luke Hall Luke Hall Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

I know that my hon. Friend has raised issues about this particular statutory instrument. We believe we need to encourage the densification of our towns and cities to allow for additional homes. In the last four years, 60,000 additional homes have been delivered through permitted development rights for change of use. This new permitted development right could deliver an extra 800 homes a year for families across our cities and help to protect the countryside too. Of course, permitted development rights remain subject to prior approval by the local planning authority on a number of matters, including the amenity of neighbours and occupiers of the block.