Westminster Legal Policy Forum

The future of property law in England and Wales - leasehold, commonhold and consumer rights

Morning, Thursday, 25th April 2019

Central London


This timely conference will bring together policymakers and key stakeholders to discuss the way forward for property law in England and Wales as government and the Law Commission develop a series of significant reforms to the leasehold, commonhold and property management systems.

It is scheduled at a time of a series of interlocking proposals for policy reform designed to lead to a single piece of new property and land rights legislation, including:

  • Government consultation on leasehold, including how to implement their proposed ban on new homes from being sold with leasehold, capping ground rents to £10 per annum, improving transparency on the maintenance costs that underlie service charges, and making the process of selling a leasehold property easier; and
  • The Law Commission undertaking four consultations on specific issues in the sector, including those already open on enfranchisement and commonhold and the Commission plans to seek views in early 2019 on Right to Manage and unfair terms in leasehold contracts.

Delegates will discuss the practical and legal implications emanating from the Law Commission’s consultation on the process for leaseholders seeking to buy the freehold, including reforms to the valuation formula, which aim to make it simpler and more ‘cost-effective’ to do.

The agenda also looks at the Government’s new regulations on ensuring recognition of residents' associations and The Law Commission’s further consultation on simplifying the Right to Manage process by which residents can set-up their own company to undertake maintenance instead of the company chosen by the freeholder.

Those attending will examine the proposals and assess the challenges for delivering the reforms in order to achieve the aim of greater leaseholder rights. 

With the Law Commission also currently consulting on policies to expand the use of commonhold ownership in England and Wales, and make it easier to convert from leasehold to commonhold, we expect discussion on whether lessons can be learnt from other jurisdictions where this model is more often utilised such as the USA or Australia.

Delegates will also look at how a change in culture might be achieved amongst property developers, advisors and others connected with the sector to promote commonhold, including increasing lender confidence to improve the choice of mortgage options for consumers in England and Wales.

Delegates will discuss the implications for developers and freeholders of Government’s proposed changes to the leasehold market that intend to make it unlawful to sell new homes on a leasehold basis and the plan to cap ground rents in new leases for flats to £10.

Sessions will also examine the political, legal and practical challenges of any potential attempts to retrospectively apply change to existing leasehold contracts.

It comes as the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee is expected to report on the findings of its inquiry into leasehold in early 2019 and following the Secretary of State writing to both the SRA and CMA calling on them to investigate the situation of existing agreements that double ground rents every 10 years.

Keynote Speaker

Professor Nicholas Hopkins

Commissioner, Property, Family and Trust Law, Law Commission

Keynote Speakers

Paul Phipps-Williams

Head of Leasehold Reform, Leasehold, Commonhold and Rentcharges Division, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Professor Nicholas Hopkins

Commissioner, Property, Family and Trust Law, Law Commission


Beth Rudolf

Director of Delivery, Conveyancing Association

Roger Nelson

Managing Director, Each Side Leasehold

Professor James Driscoll

Solicitor; Author and former Judge, Residential Property Tribunal

Matthew Jupp

Principal, Mortgage Policy, UK Finance

Stephanie Pollitt

Assistant Director (Real Estate), British Property Federation

Louie Burns

Managing Director, Leasehold Solutions