Taylor Wimpey CEO Pete Redfern has told leaseholders today that his company’s “review” into its ground rent scandal will not conclude before the end of April.
Mr Redfern also references being “aware of the work being undertaken by the Government on this issue and wish to understand their future plans for leaseholds”.
Sebastian O’Kelly, of LKP, has responded to Mr Redfern suggesting “this appears little more than a strategy to cause further delay, and, of course, the ‘review’, requiring essential further information, may well be postponed to a later date”.
The response was copied to Sajid Javid, DCLG Secretary of State, Gavin Barwell, housing minister, and LKP patrons Sir Peter Bottomley, MP, and Jim Fitzpatrick, MP.
“This is a surprise, as the data of lease sales to your customers and the freehold sales to assorted investment groups, both in the UK and offshore, is well known to your company …
“Like Mr Micawber, Taylor Wimpey appears to be hoping that “something will turn up” to help it resolve a mess of its own making.
“Meanwhile, your company has achieved further celebrity this week on BBC R4 You and Yours; BBC TV Facing East and the Sunday Times is preparing another outing; as is BBC TV’s Rip Off Britain.
“And so it will continue.”
Mr Redfern told the Taylor Wimpey leaseholders: “This is a complex matter concerning a number of customers and it is important that we do a thorough and complete review in order to assess fully how we may be able to help.
“We are gathering together our own company information, and information from customers, as well as seeking input from experts and lenders in order to fully understand issues around valuation, saleability and mortgageability.”
Hang on a minute Mr Redfern!,
You expect innocent non legally trained first time purchasers (often on a help to buy scheme) to understand the complexities of the implications attaching to a house that under normal circumstances was always sold on freehold now being sold on a leasehold basis with no advantage whatsoever to the purchaser but every financial advantage to the developer/freeholder by creating an artificial asset.
And yet you, the CEO of Taylor Wimpey one of the largest developers in the UK with a substantial and robust highly qualified legal department need until the end of April to “understand fully” precisely what your company has willfully done?
Doesn’t really make sense, does it Mr Redfern?
You would have thought that was the case, but the TW robust Legal Department say they were completely unaware of any problem that these Ground Rent conditions are giving their customers. And these conditions first appeared 10 years ago in 2007.
TW say that it was their customers, the leaseholders, who brought this to their attention in October 2016.
From a distance it appears that the leaseholders are educating the TW Legal Department and are doing it very well.
It was highlighted to them several years ago !! They purposefully refused to change their practices then when it was picked up. They chose to continue knowing the implications.
Mr Peter Redfern,
You say ” Taylor Wimpey has regional panels of solicitor firms that we generally make available to customers to use for their purchase if they wish.
As these solicitors on these panels are completely independent of Taylor Wimpey and their is no obligation to use them. we would expect all solicitors to explain the ownership structure of a property and the terms of any rent reviews to their clients.”
OK Mr Redfern, given the sheer number of Taylor Wimpey clients using your panel of solicitor firms who did not realise and were not made aware of the grotesque and unfair terms of the lease that Taylor Wimpey created, would it be your intention to remove all the solicitor firms involved in this scandal from your panel with immediate effect?
Mr Epstein I agree with all that you say.In addition, I have stated all along that I believed directors of TW to be a bunch of Spivs who should be sacked with loss of pension and Imprisoned if it can be proven that criminal acts have been committed during the art of shafting leaseholders. I stand by that view.
From recent correspondence I have had with TW it is still my belief that they will come up with a solution. But I expect it will be too little and too late, but a start to build upon.
I doubt it will be an open ended offer so it is important that those leaseholders who think they have a claim, should join the queue now.
The current TW Board of Directors are new and not the ones who instigated the atrocious Ground Rent conditions.
They probably were in place more recently when the freeholds were being sold off to Investment Companies. They say they had no knowledge of the problems this would cause to the leaseholders, until this all blew up last October. Obviously that is not going to be believed by the majority.
Nevertheless it is the current Board who are going to have to resolve this, so let’s see what they come up with before threatening them with imprisonment.
Maybe it is their forerunners you should be after.
It is true that there are many new members of the Taylor Wimpey board.
However, it is my understanding that Mr Peter Redfern was appointed to the board on 3rd July 2007. if this does in fact to prove to be the case, that puts Mr Redfern right at the epicentre of this scandal.
Mr Peter Timothy Redfern was appointed Chief Executive for George Wimpey in 12 Oct 2004. He was made the same for Taylor Wimpey 03 Jul 2007.
In April 2003 he became director of Fairhold Atlas Limited where he stayed until 31 Mar 2006. This is a professional ground rent investment company and is also part of the Proxima-Tchenguiz group.
Hard for him to argue he did not understand the implications of onerous ground rents then…..
Do you think it might have escaped Mr Peter Timothy Redfern’s attention that a previous name for Fairhold Atlas was Taylor Wimpey?
Doubling ground rent is still standard on new build e.g Greenwich Millenium Village Taylor Wimpey with Countryside Properties regeneration scheme has thousands of flats with ground rents c. £250 to £500 pa doubling every 15 years on 250 year leases. You won’t find this information in sales literature but it’s hidden in the long lease contract after one has paid reservation fee,valuation fee and spent thousands.
Journalists should mystery shop every large new build and name all the developments ripping off homebuyers.
Why is government not telling developers they will lose Help to Buy status and taxpayers money if they don’t stop leasehold houses and doubling ground rents. Why is that so difficult ?
The very wealthy elite are blatantly ripping off first time buyers backed up by LEASE a government agency. Whose side is the Housing minister on ?
Joe, join the NATIONAL LEASEHOLD CAMPAIGN ( Facebook)! Started by Katie Kendrick.We are dealing with this issue. Get on board.
Dear Mr Redfern,
You will I hope recall the article written by Mira Bar-Hillel published in the Evening Standard on 25th September, 2007.
The case of Mr Irwin Tarn was highlighted who had initially put down a 2,000 pound deposit for a small new build flat situated in the Mill Hill area of London.
On inspecting the small print of the terms of the lease, Mr Tarn came across the clause in the lease stating that the 300 pounds per year ground rent would be doubled every 10 years.
On realising the implications of this that would have meant his ground rent would increase to an astonishing 9,600 pounds every year he pulled out of the purchase. As a “goodwill gesture” Taylor Wimpey refunded his deposit in full. Estate Agents quoted at the time said they had never heard of such a clause in the lease, whilst solicitors described the clause as “Outrageous”
So Mr Redfern, you must have been aware of how unfair your terms and conditions were back in 2007?
Mr Epstein. NICE ONE!! Answers on a postcard please Mr Redfern. You and your company will be going the same route as ‘Ratner’.
There are two other instances recorded where TW were questioned by leaseholders about the obtrusive GR conditions. One in 2007 and one in 2009. In these two cases TW were not so generous.
That is why I said the majority would not believe that the problem was unknown to them until it was reported last October, even though most of those former Directors had departed.