Ban on charging ground rent on leases comes into force today
The government’s ban on charging ground rent on new leases in England and Wales comes into force today.
From today, anyone buying a home on a new long lease will now be freed from these annual costs.
Landlords are banned from charging ground rent to leaseholders, under a new law that the government hopes will lead to fairer, more transparent homeownership for thousands of homebuyers, helping to level up opportunities for more people.
In preparation, many landlords had already reduced ground rent to zero for homebuyers starting a new lease with them.
Leasehold minister Lord Stephen Greenhalgh said: “This is an important milestone in our work to fix the leasehold system and to level up home ownership.
“Abolishing these unreasonable costs will make the dream of home ownership a more affordable reality for the next generation of home buyers.”
Future measures, announced last year, include a new right for leaseholders to extend their leases to 990 years at zero ground rent and an online calculator to help leaseholders find out how much it would cost to buy their freehold or extend their lease.
Commenting on the changes, CILEX (Chartered Institute of Legal Executives) head of policy, Jonathan Walker, said: “The ban on ground rents is positive news for anyone considering buying a leasehold property and important progress towards ensuring safety and security for all householders.
“Problems still remain however, and it is disappointing that there is no retrospective inclusion of current leasehold tenants within the Act. They will still be obliged to pay their existing rents, even in cases where they are seeing those rents escalate – some doubling every ten years. Those attempting to sell on properties will find ground rents prove unattractive to buyers who now have the option of purchasing a rent-free leasehold property, and many will experience difficulties when looking to remortgage, or extend or vary their existing leasehold.
“Such fundamental changes to the leasehold market must be implemented alongside awareness raising and education amongst both consumers and professionals so that both understand the implications for property transactions.
“It is vital that we see a continued programme of reform that benefits those who are new to the leasehold market whilst not disadvantaging or restricting those currently within the system. We hope to see further measures to address residential leasehold houses and cap ground rent for all existing leasehold properties.”