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The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill 2023-2024: what to expect?

March 1, 2024

Homeownership in England and Wales generally consists of two tenure types: freehold and leasehold.

Freehold is an ownership over the land and the property built upon it, which lasts forever, and generally gives extensive control over the property. Leasehold provides time-limited ownership (for example, a 99-years lease), and control of the property, which is shared with, and limited by the landlord, and ultimately the freeholder. The balance of power between leasehold owners and their landlord is governed by the terms of the lease and by legislation.

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill 2023-24 (The Bill) was introduced to the House of Commons on 27 November 2023 and then the Bill has been progressing through the legislative process.

The Bill is available on the Parliament website:

The Bill will make a long-term change to homeownership for millions of leaseholders in England and Wales, where the most of flats are owned on a leasehold basis and around 8% of houses are owned as a leasehold.

The main changes empowering leaseholders are:

  • Making it cheaper and easier for existing leaseholders in houses and flats to extend their lease or buy the freehold;
  • Qualifying tenants of a house or a flat will be entitled to a new lease for a term of 990 years (increased from 50 years for houses and 90 years for flats);
  • Removing the requirement for a new leaseholder to have owned their house for two years before they can extend their lease or buy their freehold and for flats before they can extend their lease. So, tenants will be eligible to claim a lease extension immediately on acquiring their lease;
  • New leases, whether for flats or houses, will be granted in return for a premium, rather than a market rent. The new lease will be at a peppercorn rent from the time of being granted. This will bring houses into line with flats, where the lease extensions are already required to bring the ground rent down to a peppercorn;
  • Giving leaseholders a new right to request information about the service charges and the management of their building;
  • Improving the transparency of administration charges and buildings insurance commissions;
  • Giving the freehold owners who pay charges for the maintenance of communal areas and facilities on a private or mixed-tenure residential estate the right to challenge the reasonableness of charges and the standard of services provided;
  • Scrapping the presumption for the leaseholders to pay their landlord’s legal costs when challenging poor practice;
  • Increasing the 25 per cent ‘non-residential’ limit preventing leaseholders in buildings with a mixture of homes and other uses such as shops and offices, from buying their freehold or taking over management of their buildings – to allow leaseholders in buildings with up to 50 per cent non-residential floorspace to buy their freehold or take over its management;
  • The tribunal’s jurisdiction will be increased to save a leaseholder needing to apply to court to force their landlord to take action.

The Bill is now due to have its report stage (the last stage where amendments are discussed in the House of Commons, before the Bill has its third reading is passed for consideration to the House of Lords) and the third reading will be in the end of February 2024.

We will monitor the progress of the Bill and continue to inform our clients about recent amendments. 

If you are thinking about buying or selling a property or wish to know any further information, please contact our office and ask to speak to a member of the residential conveyancing team on 0121 7057571 or mail

Kateryna Knyazyeva
Paralegal – Commercial Department

This article is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute technical, financial, legal advice or any other type of professional advice and is no substitute for specific advice based on your individual circumstances. We do not accept responsibility or liability for any actions taken based on the information in this article. For more information, please click here.