Leasehold Reform

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:12 pm on 23 May 2023.

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Photo of Rachel Maclean Rachel Maclean The Minister of State, Home Department, Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) 4:12, 23 May 2023

I wanted to thank my colleagues on the Government Benches—it is a courtesy of the House that we do so, and unfortunately, they were not thanked by Matthew Pennycook. I am very grateful for all Members’ contributions, and if they will allow me, I will come on to answering their questions.

As I was saying, it is our manifesto commitment to bring to an end the outdated and feudal leasehold system. That is why we have embarked on a significant programme of reform. One issue that has been repeatedly raised in today’s debate is escalating ground rents. The Government have tackled that issue head on through our Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022, ensuring that people buying most new leases will not have to pay a penny in ground rents. For existing leaseholders who have already been saddled with unjustified rent hikes, we have asked the CMA to investigate such unfair terms. The CMA has secured commitments benefiting over 20,000 leaseholders, including the removal of terms that allow for the doubling of ground rents, with the charges instead reverting to original rates.

In 2021, commitments were secured from Aviva, Countryside Properties and Taylor Wimpey to return doubling ground rent terms to original rates, and from Persimmon to support leasehold house owners to buy their freehold at the original price quoted. Last year, similar commitments were secured from 15 landlords who bought freeholds from Countryside Properties, and nine companies that bought freeholds from Taylor Wimpey. A further four national developers—Crest Nicholson, Redrow, Miller Homes and Vistry—