Russell & Russell welcomes Housing White Paper measures
Author: Stephen Crompton
As members of The Conveyancing Association (CA), the leading trade body for the conveyancing industry, Russell & Russell has welcomed a number of measures announced in this month’s Housing White Paper and is backing the CA in its ongoing attempts to deliver change and progress for the conveyancing market.
In particular, Russell & Russell is behind measures to improve land registration and to promote fairness and transparency within the leasehold process.
Firstly, the Government’s White Paper appears to show strong support for the Land Registry’s overall aim to complete the Land Register – the White Paper says it is ‘committed to becoming the world’s leading land registry for speed, simplicity, and an open approach to data and will aim to achieve comprehensive land registration by 2030’.
As members of the CA, Russell & Russell is fully supportive of this as it will create a clear line of sight of ownership and beneficial interests generally.
The CA provided a considerable response to a consultation on the Land Registration Rules 2017, proposing both a registration of options and the beneficial interests in restrictive covenants as a means to provide oversight, and to complete the Land Register. It recently announced it's pleased that both these suggestions appear as measures in the Housing White Paper.
With regard to the various issues around the leasehold process, and the costs and delays within it, we're encouraged by the focus on leasehold in the Housing White Paper. It refers to developing greater fairness and transparency in leasehold generally and tackling buyer’s lack of awareness of associated costs. It also refers to its plans to tackle all unfair and unreasonable abuses of leasehold.
The Government plans to consider further reforms to improve consumer choice and fairness in leasehold, including working ‘with the Law Commission to identify opportunities to incorporate additional leasehold reforms as part of their 13th Programme of Law Reform, and will take account of the work of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Leasehold and Commonhold’.
The CA has provided significant input into the 13th Programme of Law Reform and continues to liaise, and work closely, with the All-Party Parliamentary Group in order to develop solutions to these issues.
Stephen Crompton, partner and head of conveyancing at Russell & Russell, said: “As members of the Conveyancing Association we're absolutely committed to helping it develop its status and standing within the industry, and to supporting its work in bringing about tangible change in the house purchasing process. The Government’s Housing White Paper appears to be heading in the right direction in a couple of key areas, namely improving land registration and cutting out the greater costs and delays that can blight the leasehold process. We're working via the CA to ensure these measures translate into tangible action and improvement and look forward to working closely with our peers to make this happen.”
Beth Rudolf, director of delivery at the Conveyancing Association, added: “There are many measures within the Government’s Housing White Paper that we are fully supportive of, indeed, we have advocated and pushed for many of them, alongside other industry stakeholders, so it is very positive to see these will be adopted. Clearly, developing a stronger and more transparent Land Register is vitally important, as is the focus on leasehold costs and delays. The CA’s leasehold campaign has particularly focused on Lease Administrators’ charges and the delays that can hold up the leasehold process and we will continue to offer our views on how these can be overcome including measures for the adoption of a charging structure, a register of Lease Administrators, plus a redress scheme for consumers and a commitment from those companies to respond within a required timescale. We will certainly be contributing to forthcoming consultations in this area.”