I'm a flat owner in London and I've been hearing a lot about commonhold recently but don't really understand exactly what it is. How does it affect me as a flat owner?
Commonhold is a form of freehold ownership which usually works best in blocks of flats, although it can also work for houses on estates. The legal structure of commonhold is different from leasehold. There are no leases for example but instead you have one commonhold community statement which sets out the rules and regulations of the parties. Each commonholder owns their unit as a freehold unit, rather than as a leasehold unit which is subject to a lease. Those who own a commonhold unit will also often be a member of the commonhold association which owns the freehold of the communal areas and manages the building. The commonhold model provides a lot more flexibility than the leasehold system and there are a number of key advantages too.
As a leaseholder, you cannot currently be forced to convert to commonhold. If you are interested in converting to commonhold, leaseholders in certain cases will have the right to convert, although the process involves buying the freehold first. All leaseholders and any lenders of the leaseholders must consent to convert which is practically difficult to achieve which is why it is not popular at the moment. Many leaseholders choose to buy the freehold only rather than then taking the additional step of converting to commonhold. In answer to your question, commonhold is unlikely to affect you currently unless your neighbours wish to convert, in which case, you can consent or reject the conversion to commonhold. If you reject it, they will not be able to proceed further.