New way of owning property unveiled

19 July 2004
The government has announced the introduction of a new way of owning freehold property in England and Wales.

Regulations and rules set out by Parliament mean that commonhold, an alternative to long leasehold ownership, will come into effect in September.

In commonhold, property owners will own the freehold of their individual homes or business premises and have an interest in an association that will own and manage the common parts of the building or development in which they live or work.

It will apply equally to residential and commercial property, allowing more to benefit from the changes.

Land Law minister David Lammy said: "Commonhold will provide a viable means of owning freehold flats and other interdependent premises."

He further believes: "It will give people more choice by allowing them to own and manage their properties in different ways," as well as being, "An alternative to long leasehold ownership."

Mr Lammy concluded: "Commonhold rests upon property owners coming together to manage their development as a whole. This will give them control and dispense with the need for a landlord."

Unlike leases, which vary considerably and are often hard to understand, commonhold community statements will be written in a standard form, in clear English.

Commonhold ownership will only be possible on freehold land. Units such as flats, offices or shops will be owned as freeholds by individuals.

The freehold of the remainder, known as the common parts, will be owned by a limited company, known as a commonhold association.

All commonholds will be registered at Land Registry.