The UK’s leasehold system has long been a source of contention, with many homeowners feeling trapped in complex agreements and burdened by escalating costs. However, the recently enacted Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act is set to revolutionise the landscape, empowering leaseholders and offering a fairer, more transparent system.

What is the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act?

This landmark legislation which has now become law, introduces sweeping changes aimed at addressing the most pressing issues faced by leaseholders. The act aims to make it easier and more affordable for leaseholders to extend their leases, buy their freeholds, and challenge unfair practices. It also introduces measures to protect future homeowners by restricting the creation of new leaseholds and increasing transparency around service charges.

Key Provisions of the Act

  1. Extending Leases and Buying Freeholds: The Act simplifies the process of extending a lease or buying a freehold, making it more accessible and less costly for leaseholders. It also introduces a new standard 990-year lease extension term for houses and flats, with ground rent reduced to a peppercorn (zero financial value) upon payment of a premium.
  2. Challenging Unfair Practices: The Act removes many of the barriers that have previously deterred leaseholders from challenging unreasonable service charges or other unfair practices by their freeholders. This includes scrapping the presumption that leaseholders pay their freeholder’s legal costs, making it a more level playing field.
  3. Transparency and Fairness: The Act introduces greater transparency around service charges, ensuring that leaseholders receive clear and regular information about the costs they are being asked to pay. It also bans unfair practices such as escalating ground rents and hidden fees.
  4. Protecting Future Homeowners: The Act introduces measures to prevent the creation of new leaseholds for houses, ensuring that most new homes are sold as freehold. This will protect future generations from the issues that have plagued leaseholders for decades.

The Impact of the Reforms

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act is a significant step towards a fairer and more equitable housing system. By empowering leaseholders and addressing the most egregious practices of the past, it aims to create a more balanced relationship between freeholders and leaseholders.

For existing leaseholders, the Act offers a real opportunity to take control of their homes and secure their futures. The ability to extend leases or buy freeholds more easily and affordably, coupled with the ability to challenge unfair practices, provides a much-needed sense of security and autonomy.

For future homeowners, the Act offers protection from the pitfalls of the leasehold system. The restriction on new leaseholds and the increased transparency around service charges will help to ensure that they are not burdened by the same issues that have plagued previous generations.

Challenges and Considerations

While the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, there are still challenges to overcome. The full impact of the reforms will take time to be realised, and there will be some teething problems as the new rules are implemented.

Additionally, some critics argue that the Act does not go far enough. They would like to see the complete abolition of the leasehold system or more radical measures to address historical injustices. However, the Act represents a significant compromise and a major step forward in reforming the leasehold system.


The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act is a watershed moment for homeowners in the UK. It marks a significant shift in the balance of power between freeholders and leaseholders, offering greater protection, transparency, and fairness. While there are still challenges ahead, the Act represents a major step towards a fairer and more equitable housing system for all.

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