20 May 2021

Ministers have launched a new group to consider the uptake of commonhold, which aims to give flat owners greater control over their building

The Commonhold Council will be chaired by Lord Greenhalgh, the building safety minister, and members will include the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, the National Leasehold Campaign, UK Finance and the British Property Federation.

Commonhold gives homeowners more autonomy over the decisions that are made regarding their building and is widely used around the world.

Currently the UK property sector operates using a freeholder and leaseholder model which has faced fierce and widespread criticism during the building-safety crisis and ground-rent scandal.

Robert Jenrick, the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, said: “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.”

The announcement follows this week’s Queen’s Speech, in which the government confirmed its commitment to restricting ground rents on long residential leases and offering leaseholders the right to extend leases by up to 990 years at zero ground rent.

The Law Commission produced a report last year which recommended that the government simplify the commonhold system and expand its use for new homes and existing leasehold buildings.

Professor Nick Hopkins, commissioner for property law at the Law Commission, said: “The Commonhold Council will help to reinvigorate commonhold, complementing our recommendations for a reformed legal framework.

“I am delighted to be able to support the council’s work, which will pave the way for commonhold to be used widely, ensuring homeowners will be able to call their homes their own.”

Newly appointed members of the Commonhold Council include:

  • Damian Greenish, British Property Federation 
  • Paul Broadhead, Building Societies Association 
  • Bob Smytherman, Federation of Private Residents’ Associations 
  • Kate Faulkner, Home Buying and Selling Group 
  • David O’Leary, Home Builders Federation 
  • Andrew Bulmer, Institute of Residential Property Management 
  • Philip Freedman CBE, QC, Law Society 
  • Sebastian O’Kelly, Leasehold Knowledge Partnership 
  • Katie Kendrick, National Leasehold Campaign

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