Survey on onerous ground rent data. Please fill this in if you have a leasehold house with exploitative ground rent terms
Louie Burns is the MD of Leasehold Solutions, which specialises in collective enfranchisement and lease extension issues. He has written for LKP on lease extensions here
He can be contacted here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mari Knowles, is a solicitor and managing partner of Leasehold Law, who has spoken at Westminster meetings organised by LKP and who is representing several leaseholders caught up in the doubling ground rent issues concerning Martin Paine. More here
Mari is happy to be consulted pro bono over the conveyancing of these properties – ie negligence claims against your solicitors – and buying the freehold.
To buy the freehold is going to involve both surveyors and lawyers. The key point here is for groups of leasehold house owners to form.
Mari can be contacted here: Mknowles@leasehold-law.com
For groups of leaseholders who have already formed, please first contact Louie Burns, and copy in LKP in the first communication: email@example.com
Groups will be particularly relevant for the Taylor Wimpey leaseholders facing doubling ground rents, where the company has yet to conclude its “review” into the scandal.
We wish to ensure that this “review” is concluded favourably to the leaseholders.
Louie Burns says you should do this, after having read the basics on how to buy the freehold of your house from the LEASE website:
1/ Get fully informed about your lease, its ground rent terms and who the freeholder is. This may require spending £3 to research your title at the Land Registry, this will also give you the list of all the other leaseholders in your area with the same freeholder and the same issues you are facing.
2/ Arm yourself with this information and read how you have a right to extend the lease of your house by 50 years or buy the freehold https://www.lease-advice.org/advice-guide/houses-qualification-and-valuation/, generally speaking it cost the same whether you extend or buy the freehold so it’s better to buy the freehold so you can get rid of your freeholder completely.
3/ You then need to make contact with your neighbours or others who have the same leases and the same freeholder. You could arrange a meeting locally in a hall and put a not through the doors of your neighbours listed on the freehold title.
4/ You have far more power as a group when approaching the freeholder to buy the freehold.
5/ You can share costs. To get a valuation for a freehold under the 1967 Act is very complicated, but you can save money by doing this in bulk with several properties.
6/ You have far more muscle as a group to approach the freeholders to see whether they prepared to sell, or if not you will go down the formal route through tribunal
7/ This is not a job for the local solicitor who deals with divorces and personal injury. Leasehold is a specialist area of the law.
8/ You need to fix the fees and get them reduced because you have a group.
For example, you could approach a professional and ask how much it would cost in fees, how much it would cost to apply to Tribunal if it were necessary, what their fees would be if they attended tribunal on your behalf and would there be any other extras you should be aware of.
Once you have these figures, you now negotiate them lower as you are part of a group.
Once you have agreed the discount, insist that these fees should be fixed, and get it in writing.
This means you have agreed the price with the relevant professionals, without having a taxi meter running.
9/ Leaseholders should ignore the freeholders initial quotes for the freehold. They are just a try-on, and someone might be foolish enough to pay.
They also serve to stretch your expectations regarding the freehold’s supposed price. This is absolutely routine in leasehold negotiations, unfortunately.
10/ If you want to employ other professionals, then chose a service on the website of the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP).
This is a complicated process and cheap isn’t necessarily good when carrying out a freehold acquisition.
Get the professionals to tell you what their previous experience is, ask questions about the detail of the work they have done.
Do they regularly work for leaseholders? Many companies specialise in working for freeholders.
You should not skimp on finding a specialist. Once you have settled on the valuer and solicitor insist that you require regular and detailed updates on how the process is going.
This may sound like a lot of effort, but it really will put you in charge of this process and it will give you the best chance of buying the freehold of your house the best and cheapest way you possibly can.