Here's how many people bought leasehold properties in Bedford – as watered-down reform bill pushed through Parliament

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The latest figures from the Land Registry show how many people bought a leasehold property in Bedford in 2022.

It comes as government and opposition officials pushed through the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act in the final hours before Parliament shuts down for the General Election on July 4, as part of the parliamentary process known as "washing-up".

The reforms have been criticised, with a Conservative peer labelling the Bill "suboptimal", adding it is "not the revolution that many leaseholders across the country have been desperate for".

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Land Registry figures collated by the House of Commons Library show there were 5,369 residential property sales in Bedford in 2022.

There were 5,369 residential property sales in Bedford in 2022. Of these, 702 were leasehold properties, while 4,667 were freehold (Pixabay)There were 5,369 residential property sales in Bedford in 2022. Of these, 702 were leasehold properties, while 4,667 were freehold (Pixabay)
There were 5,369 residential property sales in Bedford in 2022. Of these, 702 were leasehold properties, while 4,667 were freehold (Pixabay)

Of these, 702 (13%) were leasehold properties, while 4,667 (87%) were freehold.

Buying a property freehold means you also own the land it is built on, while with leasehold purchases someone else still owns the land. Owners usually pay a service charge to cover maintenance of the land, as well as ground rent on top of their mortgage payments.

Of the three constituencies that cover Bedford, Bedford had the highest proportion of leasehold sales with 22%. North East Bedfordshire was second with 12%, while Mid Bedfordshire was third with 8%.

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Speaking on Friday at the report stage of the Bill, Labour frontbencher Lord Kennedy of Southwark said: "This is far, far short of what was promised, and the Government should be ashamed of the fact, the way it has behaved over the last few years, and behaved over this Bill, making promise after promise after promise, and delivering very, very little."

Conservative whip Lord Gascoigne replied: "This is a good Bill as it stands, the Government wants to see it through."

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove pledged to cap ground rents at a nominal level. This was changed to a £250 cap, but both promises have been scrapped.

Conservative Lord Bailey of Paddington said: "This Bill is suboptimal, it’s not the revolution that many leaseholders across the country have been desperate for, while other Tory peers accused the Government of 'rushing through' attempts to implement the legislation.

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The figures show around 24% of property transactions across England and Wales in 2022 were leasehold – around 207,000 transactions.

However, almost all flats are sold on a leasehold basis, compared to just 7% of houses. In Bedford, 2% of house transactions were leasehold properties.

The Government was criticised for rushing through the legislation on the final day Parliament sits before the general election.

Conservative peer Lord Howard of Rising said of Friday’s proceedings: "It’s a disgrace. It’s not washing-up, it’s letting all the water out. You’ve got a major piece of legislation that creates certain precedents and it’s being rushed through here without a moment’s notice."

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