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Welsh Government announces action on leasehold reform

February 2020

In a written statement released on 6th February, Julie James AM, Minister for Housing and Local Government, announced the latest Welsh Government action on leasehold reform. The new announcements come in response to the July 2019 Report of the Task and Finish Group on Leasehold Reform (TFLR).

In recognising the impact of the misuse of leasehold, Ms James’s predecessor established the independent Task and Finish Group to investigate why the misuse was able to happen and take actions to prevent a repeat in the future. The group was briefed to review key areas of concern and develop a set of recommendations aimed at securing a stable future for leasehold residents; and to review options for freeholders paying an estate charge.

LEASE was a member of the group that included Citizens Advice Cymru, Federation of Private Residents Associations, Home Builders Federation Wales and Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), and was also a member of its Education, Training and Raising Awareness sub-group.

TFLR was published on 17th July and the Minister made a statement promising to provide Assembly Members with an update on The Welsh Government’s work in response to TFLR.

On 6th February, the Minister updated the Assembly on two areas where initial efforts would be concentrated:

  1. The practice of charging freeholders estate fees for maintenance and services on estates. The Minister is bringing forward a ‘Call for Evidence’ on the issue of estate fees on housing developments. It will be primarily concerned with gathering evidence of current practice, which is not yet available, and will run for 12 weeks, from 6 February until 30 April; and

 

  1. Addressing poor management of leasehold properties by commissioning work to develop a new accreditation scheme for those companies which are engaged in the management of leasehold properties as well as housing developments where estate charges are in use. The scheme will be voluntary in the first instance with a view to it becoming mandatory in the future.

The Welsh Government will work closely with the sector to help it develop the scheme, with a view to it being in place by the end of the current Assembly term.

In addition to the areas of work above, the Minister is also looking at what may be done to improve the awareness of leasehold and estate charges among buyers.

LEASE is governed by a board, appointed as individuals by the Secretary of State for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities.

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