The Government has announced it will exempt all community led housing development, including CLTs, from the forthcoming ban on leasehold houses and ground rents.
In a huge victory for the CLT movement, this will mean that communities can continue to use the leasehold system ethically to provide and protect affordable houses, and to steward land for community benefit. The announcement comes after over 18 months of lobbying by the National CLT Network and our members.
Tom Chance, Director of the National CLT Network, said:
"I'm absolutely delighted that the Government is going to stamp out the abuse of leasehold houses and ground rents. This has been a nightmare for far too many people.
"So much better, then, that the Government has accepted that CLTs should not be caught by these bans. Our lobbying off the back of the first announcement ensured that our needs were highlighted in both rounds of consultation. We've been able to engage officials to explain our position, and our members have - as always - given us tremendous power by raising the issue with their MPs. This is a victory we can all share."
In its full consultation response, the Government said:
- there should be an exemption for community led housing to the ban on leasehold houses, and the Government will continue to work with us to develop a legal definition for regulations in future legislation
- it did not receive enough evidence that CLTs could use alternative funding schemes to ground rents, and so banning them would threaten our sector's growth, so it will exempt community led housing from the measure to reduce ground rents to a peppercorn level.
CLTs already have a definition in law, in the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008, section 79. But no definition exists to cover the wider community led housing sector, in particular for cohousing. The National CLT Network will continue working closely with our partners the UK Cohousing Network, the Confederation of Co-operative Housing and Locality to ensure the definition is workable, and will keep our members in the loop on this process.