James Butler Regional Organiser (East Midlands, West Midlands and South West) 17th May 2023 Blog Share Tweet Leaseholders have been let down for too long. They’re not a homogeneous group. There are the “cladiators” battling against huge charges for the removal of dangerous cladding. There are those that have faced ever-escalating ground rents. There are former formerly council tenants have historically felt they had to accept contracts for unknown charges and underdetermined works. To date, Government has addressed these issues in a very piecemeal manner, sorting some of the issues, but not all of them. It’s a bitter blow for many then that according to the media, Downing Street has vetoed Gove’s plans to abolish this “feudal” system of land ownership after earlier promising to do so. There is one group of leaseholders who have been particularly badly let down by the Government’s U-turn: those who put on hold their plans to undertake a statutory lease extension based on their belief that the Government was to abolish the tenure. They’re now in limbo: unsure about whether to now extend, unsure about what the Government is about to propose. Ministerial announcement followed by veto is not a great way to run a country. Even without the egregious abuse of ground rent by developers, the fundamental problem with leasehold is that too often it lays bare the power imbalance between leaseholders and freeholders, with leaseholders obliged to pay charges when they are not in control of what is being done. Commonhold, widely used internationally and which has been available to in the UK for nearly two decades, is pretty much the answer. It’s just less desirable for developers, hence it hasn’t taken off here in the UK. Government has now promised a package of leasehold reforms rather than the promised reform. Whilst continued reform is welcome, yet further piecemeal change feels a long way from what the Law Commission recommends. The Co-operative Party has long campaigned for a better way to manage land and property, co-operative housing tenure, a strengthening of commonhold tenure and to protect leaseholder and renters from unreasonable costs. It’s time for Government to deliver.