"The Government must reconsider their position on leasehold reform which will affect 4.9 million leaseholders across the country who, according to extensive research, are largely happy with the leasehold system and do not want unnecessary liabilities placed on them"
- Mick Platt - Residential Freehold Association
Independent polling from JL Partners, commissioned by the Residential Freehold Association, has revealed that the majority of people do not have confidence that leaseholders on their own would be able to make decisions on building management effectively.
Abolishing the role of institutional freeholders, a proposal expected to be pushed more vigorously by potential government reforms will mean residents must agree on all elements of management, maintenance, and costs, which in large and complex buildings can often lead to fractious disputes between neighbours.
The findings supplement research by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, published earlier this year, which suggests a majority of people hold a positive or neutral view of the leasehold system in England and Wales.
The Government’s research also found that some respondents believed they would find commonhold ownership, a system of tenure without a freeholder, more stressful than leasehold. This is because under commonhold residents are required to arrange repairs or maintenance, liaise or negotiate with neighbours, and hold the legal responsibility for repairs and ensuring fellow leaseholders pay the required fees and service charges.
Mick Platt, Director of the RFA, commented: “We have consistently argued that commonhold is not a viable alternative to the entirety of the leasehold system, and this poll is the latest piece of evidence exposing the impractical realities of the Government’s agenda.
“Most residents, who understandably have less expertise, experience and time to manage complex buildings than professional freeholders, clearly have no desire to carry out the reality of the policy proposals the Government are pursuing.
“The Government must reconsider their position on leasehold reform which will affect 4.9 million leaseholders across the country who, according to extensive research, are largely happy with the leasehold system and do not want unnecessary liabilities placed on them.”
The findings of this latest round of polling are published following independent research previously commissioned by the RFA which revealed only 18% of people would be comfortable assuming the legal and financial liabilities for managing their building, as they would under commonhold.
Under the current leasehold system, professional freeholders provide long-term stewardship for the UK’s apartment buildings, utilising their broad commercial, legal and building management expertise to manage the safety and maintenance of complex blocks.