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Open letter from MP – Leasehold reform

7 July 2022

Leasehold is a centuries-old system that is unjust and unfair in my view. Almost every country in the world apart from Britain has either reformed or abolished this archaic model, and I believe the UK Government should do the same. I am pleased the Opposition has long supported leasehold reform and is pressing Ministers to take immediate action to give leaseholders greater powers and security in their homes.It is a real injustice in my view that existing leaseholders continue to face problems with ground rents, non-transparent service charges and managing agent fees, while new leaseholders are free from those problems. During the passage of the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill (now Act), I voted in favour of an amendment that would have ended ground rents for existing long residential leases as well as new ones. Disappointingly, the Government voted against and defeated the amendment, promising instead to introduce further reforms soon.However, Ministers have since admitted those reforms will not be introduced until the 2023-24 parliamentary session. I believe that is too long to wait and I support calls for reforms to be introduced now.The Government is analysing responses to a consultation it ran earlier this year on a number of Law Commission recommendations, which include helping leaseholders buy their freehold and gain the right to manage their building. While I welcome this consultation, we have had consultations before and I do not believe people should have to wait any longer for basic rights over their own homes.I support calls for reforms to end the sale of new private leasehold houses; set up a workable system to replace private leasehold flats with commonhold – while giving greater powers to residents in the interim over the management of their homes; introduce new rights for flat owners to form residents’ associations; secure the right for leaseholders to extend a lease to 990 years at any time with zero or capped ground rents; and put an end to unfair fees and contract terms with more rights of redress for leaseholders.With new legislation, we can end unfair rules and give people a greater ability to make decisions about their own lives. I believe this is what levelling-up should be about.Thank you once again for contacting me about this issue.Yours sincerely,Marsha De CordovaMember of Parliament for Battersea