“The current tenancy system is outdated, unbalanced and broken and we are determined to fix it,” insisted Lord Stephen Greenhalgh, Minister for Tenancies.
“Our proposals aim to rebalance power and should see more tenants owning full rights to their homes than ever before.”
He added: “This is in addition to our new approach to building security, which includes decisive measures to protect tenants.”
the consultation, which will examine the reform of tenancy and condominium systems in England and Wales, will run for six weeks until February 22, 2022, seeking views on proposals to give more tenants the opportunity to manage or to own their properties – in buildings where there is a mix of homes and other non-residential facilities, such as shops and restaurants.
The current system means that only certain residential leaseholders in England and Wales can choose to purchase their property directly by enfranchisement. Alternatively, they can take over the management of their building under a “management right”.
If retail and other similar properties occupy more than 25% of the total area, as is increasingly the case with new buildings, tenants cannot bid collectively to take control of their building.
The government says its new proposals could give these tenants the right to manage or buy their building outright, raising that limit to 50%. This, he says, would allow them to have more control over the management of shared facilities and have the final say on building maintenance costs.
The consultation also includes proposals that aim to make it cheaper for tenants to collectively buy their freehold. A “compulsory sale-leaseback” would require landlords to maintain a lease on certain properties in the building, thereby reducing the cost of a collective buyout of their building.
The future proposals of the government, announced last year, could also see the cost of emancipation lower further, such as the removal of the “value of marriage” and the introduction of an online calculator with prescribed calculation rates.
“I welcome this consultation as an important step towards implementing the Law Commission’s recommendations on tenancy reform, which were jointly commissioned by the Welsh and UK Governments. I want us to work together on these important reforms to ensure they reflect the best interests of tenants in Wales,” said Julie James, Welsh Minister for Climate Change:
In addition, as part of the consultation, the government is asking for opinions on changes to support greater use of co-ownership, as an alternative form of ownership to lease. This includes those in shared ownership schemes in England, which are still sold on lease.
“The condominium model is used in countries around the world and provides a structure for owners to collectively own the building in which their apartment is located from the outset – with greater influence over the management of their building, the facilities shares and related costs,” the government statement said. .
The government says consumers and providers of condominiums are now being asked to have their say on how decision-making in condominium blocks might work under the new model of shared ownership, in England.
He insists he will consider all consultation feedback before making final policy decisions, helping to shape the next stage of his “comprehensive reform agenda” of tenancy and condominium systems.
Unsurprisingly, the National Leasehold Campaign (NLC) – one of the most influential and vocal voices for lease reform and increased condominium use – strongly supported the consultation.
Katie Kendrick, Founder of the NLC, said: ‘This consultation continues to demonstrate just how committed and determined the government is to fixing this broken tenancy system and working towards a common property model that will ultimately be the sunset clause of the lease across England and Wales forever.”
She added: ‘The tenancy is well and truly at the top of the political agenda and it is thanks to the relentless efforts of the tenants themselves who have come together to ensure that the spotlight shines brightly on this feudal system. iniquitous that really has no place in the 21st century. It is essential that tenants continue to make their voices heard by participating in this consultation.
Jo Darbyshire, co-founder, added: “The NLC strongly supports this consultation before final policy decisions are made, which we hope will remain true to the outstanding work of the Law Commission reports which have made the subject of extensive research and consultation. Renters simply want the homes they paid for and the autonomy and dignity they know that comes from true ownership.
The Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP) also encourages its members, landlords and the housing industry to provide feedback on proposals from the Department of Leveling, Housing and Communities, to help create a fairer system for the tenants.
Mark Chick, Director of ALEP, said: “Any plans to simplify the tenancy system are to be warmly welcomed and ALEP will actively participate in the consultation. It is so important that industry experts help shape future changes to the system, and our members will appreciate the opportunity to consult and contribute to proposed changes.
He continued: “The government is committed to making condominiums work and our members have been actively engaged in advising on the steps needed to get this done. While the government has repeatedly stated its commitment to fundamental reform of the lease postage system, there is no definitive timetable as to when any of the measures can be implemented, making it difficult for tenants and those advising them to know when these reforms are likely to become law.
He concluded: “This consultation on introducing changes to support greater use of condominiums could provide some clarity, which would be very welcome.”
You can find out more about consultation and share your opinions here.