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What’s wrong with leasehold?

In the first of four articles on the leasehold reforms in the new Act, Peter Haler urges practitioners to take advantage of the new business opportunities

14 June 2002

“The leasehold system is fundamentally flawed”, according to the Government, which has just en-acted a substantial raft of new rights for leaseholders and corresponding checks and obligations for landlords in the Common-hold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002. There is nothing basically wrong with leasehold as a means of providing limited-term sales, and there is an active and wholly efficient market for short leases in central London; the problem is that leasehold is a profoundly unsatisfactory means of providing the only mortgagable interest in a flat. If someone chooses to buy a short lease in the full understanding of their position this is fine, but the average UK purchaser of a flat doesn’t have a choice. Paraphrasing Henry Ford, he can have any form of ownership he likes so long as its leasehold. This could be reasonably satisfactory, as long as the leaseholder could be confident of the ready availability of informed professional advice, but the unhappy reality is that too fe...

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