***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***
This conference focuses on the reform of property law in England and Wales - including wide-ranging proposed changes to leasehold and commonhold.
The discussion takes place at a key stage for policy in this area, and follows the publication of the Government’s proposed reforms to leasehold, as well as the announcement of the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill, with the intention to give the right to extend leases, and to minimise costs when extending them by cutting ground rent to zero.
It also comes with:
- the establishment of a Commonhold Council, announced by the Government, which will aim to support homeowners and the market for the intended widespread take-up of commonhold
- the CMA investigation into the leasehold market and the protection of consumers
- Law Commission initiatives, including the publication of three reports on leasehold enfranchisement, right to manage, and commonhold
We are pleased to be able to include keynotes session with the Minister responsible for this area of policy, Lord Greenhalgh, Minister of State (Minister for Building Safety and Communities), Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government; and with Professor Nicholas Hopkins, who led the Law Commission’s work in this area - as well as a keynote contribution from Judge Siobhan McGrath, President, First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber), Courts and Tribunals Judiciary.
Overall discussion will focus on:
- the findings of the Law Commission - discussing the results and recommendations of their report on leasehold ownership, as well as other reviews currently underway
- the Government’s proposed reforms to leasehold - including changes to the enfranchisement process and the protection of leaseholders’ rights
- the future of commonhold - including how to encourage a widespread take-up, and how to make the process more efficient and accessible, while protecting vulnerable consumers
The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from the Cabinet Office; MHCLG; HM Land Registry; the CMA; the DIT; the DfT; the Home Office; and the Welsh Government; as well as parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Commons.
- Residential leasehold and commonhold - key findings from the Law Commission and progress in carrying the recommendations forward
- Next steps following proposed government reforms to leasehold - enfranchisement and protecting the rights of leaseholders
- Providing dispute resolution in the residential leasehold sector
- The future of commonhold - consumer choice and understanding, simplifying converting to commonhold, and developing a culture change in England and Wales to encourage widespread take up
- Property law in England and Wales - key priorities for policy
Areas for discussion:
- leasehold - implementation of proposed government reforms and their likely impact on individuals and the sector, ahead of the anticipated introduction of two-part legislation which will:
- set all future ground rents to zero:
- with leaseholders who wish to extend the lease or become the freeholder no longer having to pay any ground rent
- with the ability to extend the lease for 990 years
- reform the process of enfranchisement valuation - used to calculate the cost of extending a lease or buying a freehold
- abolish marriage value
- commonhold and improving information for consumers - how to prepare both homeowners and the market for the wider adoption of commonhold as intended by government, with discussion on:
- the likely impact of the Commonhold Council - evaluating the role of the partnership of leasehold groups, industry and government that is currently being established
- how to establish a culture change - including awareness that would lead to a growth in commonhold ownership in England and Wales
- implementation - designing policy so as to ensure that regulations can be enforced, and looking at how the process of forming residents associations and buying out the freeholder can be made more efficient
- communication - looking at whether the information currently available to consumers is sufficient in explaining rights, the difference between leasehold and freehold, and helping to meet the aim of ensuring that leaseholders are not exploited
- protecting consumers who live in specialist housing - how to ensure that residents not wanting to take on the responsibilities attached to commonhold ownership have their wishes taken into account
A scan of relevant developments:
- Government reforms to make it easier and cheaper for leaseholders to buy their homes - announced in January, and expected to be followed by two-part legislation
- with the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rents) Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech recently introduced to the House of Lords
- publication of the Law Commission’s work on leasehold - which made recommendations for the Government, including:
- Leasehold homeownership: buying your freehold or extending your lease - the final report, which covered all aspects of leasehold enfranchisement
- further reviews:
- Leasehold home ownership: exercising the right to manage
- Reinvigorating commonhold: the alternative to leasehold ownership
- the CMA’s investigation into potential breaches of consumer law in the leasehold housing market - which led to them opening cases following concerns over instances of misselling, and the potential unfairness of some leasehold contract terms, following the launch of the initial investigation in 2019
- CMA requires Countryside and Taylor Wimpey to remove leasehold terms - following the above investigation, requiring them to remove ground rent terms which it considers unfair
Policy officials attending:
Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Commons and officials from the Cabinet Office; the Competition and Markets Authority; the Department for International Trade; the Department for Transport; HM Land Registry; the Home Office; the MHCLG and the Welsh Government.
Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, officials from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Ministry of Justice, the Home Office, and other relevant departments, senior representatives from law firms, property agents, housing associations, finance providers, charities and campaign groups, and local government, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.
This is a full-scale conference taking place online***
- full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
- information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
- conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
- speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
- opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
- a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
- delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
- networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!
Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference