It was another day in the media for Taylor Wimpey over leasehold houses scandal as BBC Radio 4’s influential You and Yours programme returned to the subject.
This time reporter Simon Hoban looked at buyers whose leases had already eroded two or three years before purchase – meaning they face doubled grounds of £500 next year.
The report concentrated on Speakman Gardens, in Knowsley, near Liverpool, interviewing resident Lisa Chapple who bought in December 2009, but whose lease began in 2008.
She was asked by the freeholder’s agent whether she was aware the ground rent would double to £500 from 2018 and asked whether this would cause difficulty.
Taylor Wimpey said it was “standard conveyancing practice” for the purchase date and lease issue date to be different.
Why didn’t their solicitors warn them, asked the presenter Winifred Robinson?
Taylor Wimpey told the programme that the contract terms of the lease were set out clearly and that their recommended solicitors were “completely independent of Taylor Wimpey and that there was no obligation to use them”.
However, some buyers have told LKP that they had to use the Taylor Wimpey recommended solicitors in order to complete by the sale cut-off date imposed by the company.
Sebastian O’Kelly, of LKP, told the programme that Taylor Wimpey would have to “offer the freeholds at an appropriate low price to these homeowners who were misled into buying these properties under frankly scandalous terms”.
He added: “Taylor Wimpey London did in fact sort out a whole load of leases where the freehold had been sold on to investors.
“I think it is beyond their capability to put pressure on the freehold investors here to resolve this situation. But it is going to cost money. Certainly.”
Taylor Wimpey says that it is “standard conveyancing practice” to issue leases before they are sold, landing leaseholders with £500 a year ground rents after only nine, eight or even seven years occupancy.This “standard conveyancing practice” is rather too convenient.It represents an unseemly haste on Taylor Wimpey’s part to jack up the value of the freehold – at the expense of its own customers.
What would happen if the leaseholders decided only to pay the doubled ground rent after ten years occupancy of the property?
The usual, unsavoury galere of debt-collecting solicitors would be down on them in an instant, threatening forfeiture and adding a hefty legal bill to the outstanding debt.
As Facebook groups mushroom and litigation lawyers begin giving talks to leaseholders, this is beginning to look like a car crash for the housebuilders.
It is time for the politicians to start calling them in.
we need to keep the pressure on the developers. It’s a total Mess.
My lease date is 2006 yet I didn’t purchase my new build until 2014
We must up the pressure and March on Downing Street to right this wrong! These developers do not understand the ‘Nicey Nicey approach. Trust me!! They must be forced to react.
Very true. I know. I have learnt this lesson the hard way. The big developers in the UK today are corporate bullies, just men in suits who employ legions of local trades-people to build houses. Quality control is poor and all the men in suits care about is the money they rake in.
Yes the house I have was not built until 2011 yet it doubles in 2018 t0 £590 7 years after. !! It’s a disgrace how they have duped thousands of homeowners. Taylor Wimpey you should hang your heads in shame
Liinda, the individuals at TW et al do not understand the concept of shame. They must be hit where it will hurt- in their pockets. When these ‘ Respectable’ plc companies share start plummeting due to negative publicity they will act. The pressure must increase and I believe that picketing should start outside the show homes and properties currently being constructed. Reverse the fortunes of these spivs and they will become the latest ‘ Ratner’.
Wowsers! I thought I had lost value when I lost just 1.5 years in my 125 year lease on completion of a TW flat. 7 years is a joke. When I questioned my lease I was told the following:
“Unfortunately, the commencement of the Lease is a determined date and is the same for all buyers purchasing at the development. As per my report, the term of the Lease is from 1 January 2015 however, during your period of ownership there should be no issues for the term of the Lease as it is 125 years in total.”
I’m not sure where this statement came but is was via my recommended solicitor. My completion was June 2016. I assume January 2015 was when site construction started in my phase of the development.