Linden Homes, part of the Galliford Try group, is instructing defamation solicitors to act against the purchaser of one of its leasehold houses in Bedfordshire.
Louise O’Riordan featured in a BBC Look East report on the leasehold house scandal earlier this month.
She bought a three-bedroom leasehold terraced house at Linden Homes Kaleidoscope site in Dunstable in September last year.
A number of frustrations – including those concerning the leasehold tenure of her property – encouraged her to mobilise her neighbours and form a Facebook group: “linden homes | leasehold scandal | complaints | galliford try”
But the developer is furious that Mrs O’Riordan, who lives in the property with her husband and step daughter, also approached potential customers in the sales suite and questioned them about the information provided by the sales staff.
Michael Coker, MD of Linden Homes Midlands, wrote to her earlier this week:
“Your continuing distribution of defamatory misrepresentations of the facts, together [with] harassment of prospective purchasers and site operatives is unacceptable and the Company is instructing Solicitors accordingly.”
Mr O’Riordan is indignant because she claims that Linden Homes sales staff told her that the freehold to the site was owned by a nearby college.
In fact, it is owned by Linden Limited, whose directors are given as Peter Martin Truscott, the CEO of Galliford Try, Mark Robert Farnham, Andrew Richard Hammond, Tom Marshall Nicholson and Stephen John Teagle.
The misconception that the freeholder was the local college was widespread among Mrs O’Riordan’s neighbours, it appears.
Ground rents are £200 a year, rising in 10 years time with RPI and then every subsequent five years.
Andrew Selous, Conservative MP for South West Bedfordshire, was interviewed on BBC Look East.
“It seems to me that the developer is trying to make extra revenue selling the house and then collecting the ground rent.
“I think that is an unfair and wrong practice.”
Linden Homes said in a statement to the BBC: “Linden Homes has been clear and consistent in its response to Mrs O’Riordan and finds her claims unfounded and misleading.”
Linden Homes said that it would offer the freeholds for sale to the leasehold house owners of the properties at Kaleidoscope.
Mrs O’Riordan also has frustrations with Linden Homes regarding parking spaces outside her house – she thought she was buying two but only has one – and the quality of flooring, that she believed would be free as part of the developer’s incentives, but had to be paid for.
LKP has contacted Mr Truscott, of Galliford Try.
Linden Homes / Galliford Try has been invited to comment.
Linden Homes letter: