UPDATE: for reasons that are a mystery to LKP, this story has now become widespread: Mail, Mirror, Sun (below). All are copies of the Guardian article, which may itself be from the Cambridge Evening News. It may be a case of the age of national newspaper website journalists which explains why this one took off and hundreds of others didn’t.
Personal finance journalist Patrick Collinson, of the Guardian, has again waded into the ground rent scandal highlighting the role of the John Lewis Partnership Pension Trust.
It has been hoovering up properties with doubling ground rents, usually through a vehicle called Fairhatch GR Limited.
LKP met the trustees of the John Lewis Partnership Pension Trust with our patron MPs Jim Fitzpatrick and Sir Peter Bottomley in the summer.
Astonishingly, the John Lewis Partnership Pension Trust entrusted the management of its freeholds to Vincent Tchenguiz’s interests, ultimately controlled by the Tchenguiz Family Trust in the British Virgin Islands.
Doubling ground rents owned by John Lewis Partnership Pension Trust … and managed by Tchenguiz
Our concerns were fully understood by the trustees of the John Lewis Partnership Pension Trust.
In common with other speculators in residential freeholds, the John Lewis Partnership Pension Trust does not believe itself responsible to sort out highly remunerative ground rent terms that have rendered the homes of ordinary people completely unsellable.
Taylor Wimpy, the house builder primarily responsible for spreading doubling ground rent terms, has set aside £130 million to vary the leases to rise with inflation (RPI).
But it only applies to those who bought directly from it and not for resales.
Furthermore, the scheme only applies to those cheated former customers who contact the housebuilder. It refuses to reveal the scale of the scandal or explain which sites are affected.
LKP has urged the DCLG Select Committee to haul in Taylor Wimpey CEO Pete Redfern for a full Philip Green-style explanation.
The John Lewis Partnership Pension Trust is reported in the Guardian saying:
“We are aware of concerns about the terms of some of the leases … For leases that are not covered by the Taylor Wimpey scheme, the trustee is not currently able to agree to a variation of the leases.
“However, the trustee is exploring whether it may possible to vary these leases in the future. These discussions are ongoing and are commercially confidential.”
How much longer is the John Lewis Partnership Pension Trust going to keep on playing this game?
It was fully aware of all these issues more than six months ago.
As for commercial confidentiality, what would that be?
Isn’t it more the case of hiding the blushes of the trustees of the John Lewis Partnership Pension Trust for getting involved in this racket?
It seems as though what is really needed is a selection of new trustees.
The link to the Guardian is here:
Ground rent: ‘We feel like prisoners in our own home’
High charges have left young homebuyers trapped – and the John Lewis pension fund has been accused of playing a role Thousands of young homebuyers remain trapped in virtually brand-new homes made unsaleable by spiralling ground rents and abandoned by developers such as Taylor Wimpey, despite a ban on the charges promised by the government.
Newlyweds trapped unable to sell home due to little-known legal catch
A young couple are stuck unable to sell their home after they discovered a legal catch that means their ground rent doubles every decade. Newlyweds Nathan and Tasha Stewart bought their first house in Soham, Cambridgeshire in 2014. It was only they tried to sell their leasehold property, built by housing firm Taylor Wimpey , they found out about the punitive clause.
Couple Unable To Sell House After Discovering Legal Catch Where Ground Rent Doubles Every Decade
Tasha and Nathan Stewart managed to get themselves onto the property ladder in 2014 in the town of Soham
Newlyweds unable to sell home due to legal catch that sees ground rent DOUBLE every decade
A YOUNG couple can’t sell their house due to a legal catch that means their ground rent doubles every decade. The stunned pair discovered a clause in their agreement stating the cost will keep increasing – eventually skyrocketing to the staggering amount of £307,200.
Leasehold clause is trapping newlyweds in house they want to sell
Newlyweds Nathan and Tasha Stewart were horrified to discover the clause If they stay in the property until their 70s, their annual payment will be £9,600 Campaigners say the clause is ‘the PPI of the property world’ but much worse A young couple have been left devastated after discovering a legal catch in their lease which has left them unable to sell their house.
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Bad publicity for John Lewis and this government.
Javid and his Housing Ministers sing the praises of Help to Buy but have done nothing to stop the ground rent and service charge rip offs.
A large part of developers’ share growth and personal bonuses running to £110 million for just one Persimmon director is directly linked to these leasehold rip offs and government policy.
Ka ching leasehold business as usual.
Yep. Newspaper articles can be sold up the chain.
Everything is for sale in this country..everything and one man is paid £100m bonus. Even.stories on ground rent … Lets hope that the final outcome favours this couple and all victims of this racket
Anyone doubting the existence of deep, systemic corruption in the UK should take a look at the Twitter timeline of financial journalist Ian Fraser (@ian_fraser). Or better still, read his book: Shredded.
Leasehold is not just “one weird trick” of a section of UK society.
In a recent interview, in which he mentioned the collusion of lawyers and other professionals, he invoked the Pecora Commission which investigated the causes of the Wall Street crash (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pecora_Commission). It exposed to public scrutiny the abuses of the few by the many in the banking industry.
Regular readers here need no reminders of the injustices that leaseholders face, but they pale into insignificance compared with what was visited upon small business owners by RBS’s Global Restructuring Group. As yet, the redress has been pitiful, perhaps because the taxpayer is on the hook for the crimes of the few. If a surgeon cuts off the wrong leg you’ll get compensation. If you are subjected to the financial equivalent nothing will happen.
Perhaps it’s time to stop worrying about JUST reforming leasehold and having a modern Pecora Commission to investigate the financial crimes of the 0.01%?
Oops, Admin, can you edit that for me: should be
abuses of the many by the few!
RBS? Isn’t that the bank that finance and hold a debenture over all of Firstport’s assets(including the leasehold interest in House Manager’s flats?)