I am delighted to report that the Leasehold Reform Amendment Bill has been making its way through the House of Lords and has now received the Royal Assent.
The Leasehold Reform Amendment Bill received the Royal Assent on Friday 14th March 2014 which means that it will be come law shortly. The bill is a private members’ bill which makes a small but important amendment to the 1993 Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act.
When enacted it will remove the requirement that the tenant should sign any notice of claim to a new lease (or to buy the freehold) personally and will allow a duly authorised person (such as a solicitor) or someone holding a power of attorney to sign on their behalf.
This will make it easier for flat owners, particularly those under a disability, to access their rights under the 1993 legislation and will also make it far easier for flat owners to bring claims as where parties are some distance apart a solicitor can be authorised to sign on their behalf. This will make claims to larger freehold blocks easier.
The remaining technical challenges raised by the 1993 Act are still there, but this change should assist in speeding up the process of bringing a claim and also removes the current inconsistency, where someone under a disability (in a coma for instance) cannot bring a claim because they are physically unable to sign a notice.
This is something that the ALEP Working Party on Leasehold Reform has been working on for some time and I am delighted to see that the Bill has made such good progress. As someone who has been involved in the working party since its inception, it is good to see significant progress on these issues.
17th March 2014