The Law Commission has launched a consultation today about substantial fees payable on transfer of title or change of occupancy under some residential leases. 

The consultation considers these fees in detail and looks at the issues that arise as a result of terms in residential leases which require the lessee to pay what is often a substantial fee on the transfer of title or change of occupancy. These fees are particularly prevalent in the retirement home sector and other similar markets. The amount payable is usually calculated as a percentage of the sale price or the open market value.

The consultation considers the way in which consumers learn about such fees and when they receive this information. The Law Commission reports that these terms can be triggered at a time when the lessee is particularly vulnerable, for example where a lease must be sold to pay for care home fees. In these circumstances, the lessee, or their family, may feel angry about the fees demanded.

The consultation considers the use and enforcement of these terms, especially in the retirement home sector and makes some proposals to address the issue. It looks to see whether the current legislation provides adequate remedies and whether greater protection is required for lessees.

The consultation will run for 13 weeks with a closing date of 29 January 2016. If you wish to have your say on the proposals in the consultation, you can either respond directly by visiting the Law Commission website or you can let us have your views to inform our response at property@lawsociety.org.uk by 14 December.