The government has paved the way for making commonhold an attractive alternative form of property ownership by setting up an advisory panel of experts to help get the housing market ready.
Commonhold allows a person to own a freehold flat, and be a member of the company which owns and manages the shared areas and structure of the building. However, it has struggled to gain traction – fewer than 20 commonhold developments have been built in England and Wales since it was introduced in 2002. The system has been criticised for not being flexible enough to cater for larger, more complex developments. Mortgage lenders are reluctant to lend cash against commonhold properties because of legal issues.
After asking the Law Commission to come up with reforms to reinvigorate commonhold as a workable alternative to leasehold for new and existing homes, the government yesterday announced a Commonhold Council that will inform the government on the future of this type of home ownership.
The council comprises several leasehold groups and industry experts, including Philip Freedman QC, a member of the Law Society’s land law and conveyancing committee.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: ‘We want to give homeowners across the country the autonomy they deserve. The new Commonhold Council launched today will – together with leasehold groups and industry experts – pave the way for homeowners in England to access the benefits that come with greater control over your home.
‘We are taking forward the biggest reforms to English property law for 40 years – and the widespread introduction of commonhold builds on our work to provide more security for millions of existing leaseholders across England, putting an end to rip-off charges and creating a fairer system.’