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Landlords with flats may soon have to face Commonhold tenure

A new government-created committee is considering the introduction of the new Commonhold tenure.

Commonhold is a form of freehold ownership, largely for use in flats or other interdependent buildings, typically the most popular with landlords.

There is no third-party landlord - owners themselves have shared control and responsibility over the management of the building, shared facilities and their associated charges. 


Owners may choose to employ a professional managing agent to look after the building, but they remain in control.

Like other forms of freehold ownership, commonhold comes with shared responsibilities for owners to repair, maintain and insure buildings - or employ professionals to do so on their behalf. 

The new committee - to be known as the Commonhold Council - will provide advice on how to support owners in taking on greater responsibilities for their building and will also help to ensure services, such as lending, property management and conveyancing, are ready to provide for widespread take up.

Forms of commonhold are found in many other parts of the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA, and many parts of Europe. Commonhold currently exists as a form of homeownership in this country and legislation came into force for England and Wales in 2004.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick says the Commonhold Council will act as an advisory panel of leasehold groups and industry experts to inform the government on the future of this type of homeownership.

Under commonhold there are no hidden costs or charges, preventing some of the egregious practices currently seen in some leaseholds.

The Commonhold Council, chaired by government minister Lord Greenhalgh, will form a partnership of leasehold groups and industry representatives. 

A government statement says: “Commonhold gives homeowners more autonomy over the decisions that are made. They are in control of their building in what is known as the building’s ‘commonhold association’.”

The creation of the group newly follows recommendations made by the Law Commission to simplify the commonhold system and expand its use for both new homes and existing leasehold buildings. 

The government says it will respond to these recommendations in due course but Jenrick says: “We want to give owners across the country the autonomy they deserve. The new Commonhold Council ... will – together with leasehold groups and industry experts – pave the way for homeowners in England to access the benefits that come with greater control over your home.”

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    My policy has always been freehold only, on the odd occasion that I have looked at leasehold reading the lease has always put me off.

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    This is not new. We own a flat and my daughter has another in a neighbouring development (both built in the 60s) and each flat owns one share in the management company. Both employ a management company but owners have the option to be directors on the board (currently only 2 out of 64 have taken that up). It gives a better control over lease conditions etc but it is still more expensive than freehold when buying or selling. Much better than being at the mercy of an unconnected landlord for sure.


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