Veteran columnist Peter Bill addresses leasehold houses in Estates Gazette today.
BBC R4 You and Yours exposes Taylor Wimpey buyers facing doubled ground rents to £500 before 10 years have passed ‘Fright night’ for Taylor Wimpey as profits fall 24% over leasehold scandal, says Times Taylor Wimpey rejects responsibility to resale buyers facing doubling ground rents I had to spend £14,000 to change double ground rent to RPI at Ausden Place. But will I get compo from Taylor Wimpey? ‘The genie is out of the bottle,’ three lawyers solemnly explain to industry insiders in Estates Gazette
Persimmons, Taylor Wimpey and others have obviously made loads of money by selling Leasehold properties. And then even more by collecting these escalating ground rents or by selling the freeholds on to the highest bidder.
If they are having second thoughts as to the morality of their actions they could easily restore their reputation by assisting those leaseholders to buy the freehold of their properties.
That would be a sensible thing to do.
Taylor Wimpey is already spending out millions rectifying build defect issues in flats.
It also sorted out the trail of havoc in the Taylor Wimpey London residents’ management companies, that had been messed up by Roger Southam of Chainbow.
But here they have a problem because they have flogged off the freeholds.
The hard men of UK Ground Rents Limited are not going to let Taylor Wimpey have the freeholds back for less than they could sell them on to some of their equally appetising friends in the sector.
How did anyone at Taylor Wimpey think that stuffing their own customers like this was a good idea?
Well here is another suggestion that may be more acceptable.
To assist those Leaseholders who are unable to sell their properties due to the Ground Rent escalation clause.
Persimmons, Taylor Wimpey and others should be prepared to buy back these properties at a fair price.
They then have two choices.
1 They can resell them. If they think the Ground Rent clauses are fair there is no reason why they cannot successfully do this.
2 They can keep them and rent them out. Then pay the Ground Rent themselves. This should be no problem as it was them who created these charges in the first place which they regarded as being fair.
I note the connection between Roger Southam, formerly with Chainbow who is now with Savills and ti-party leases agreed with Taylor Wimpey.
I also note that recently Mr Southam was part of a judgement panel that awarded Firstport a Bronze award for property management.
Given his position at the Leasehold Advisory Service and given the need for leaseholders to obtain impartial independent advise, does it not have a bearing on the perceived credibility of the Leasehold Advisory Service if he were to remain in position?