Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act 2024

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act received royal assent on 24 May 2024. Although it is now law, most of its provisions are not yet in force. The legislation will make it cheaper and easier for leaseholders to extend their lease, buy their freehold and take control of managing their building.

The key provisions;

·       Leaseholders can now extend their leases by an additional 990 years with ground rent reduced to a ‘peppercorn’ rent.

·       Ban on leasehold houses (save for a few very limited exceptions).

·       Abolition of marriage value - this will significantly reduce the premium payable for leases of less than 80 years.

·       Immediate lease extensions - the requirement to own property for at least 2 years has been abolished.

·       Mixed-use buildings may now qualify to buy their freeholds and the Right to Manage -leaseholders were prohibited from taking over management or buying the freehold interest if more than 25% of the building was commercial. The Act will reform this by increasing the limit to 50%.

·       Greater transparency with service charges and more independence in terms of management of properties.

·       Ban on excessive insurance commissions.

One notable omission from the Act is the abolition or cap of ground rents for existing leaseholders. The next government may change this.

Drones and Trespass

The recent High Court decision of AIUL v Alex Wainwright and Persons Unknown [2023] is an interesting read and a likely hot topic for the future. In this case the judge held that flying a drone over private property amounted to trespass and granted an interim injunction against ‘urban explorers’ who flew drones over an abandoned seminary building near Manchester. The drones were used to take images which were then used to encourage others to enter the property.

The relevant legislation was s. 76 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982, which states that there is no trespass “by reason only of the flight of an aircraft over any property at a height above the ground which, having regard to wind, weather and all the circumstances of the case is reasonable…”

The Judge held that the specific use of the drones in this instance did not engage s.76, and even if it did the height of the drones could not be reasonable as it was at a level which could take the images which were promoting the trespass. 


Posted on 07/03/2024 by Ortolan

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