Housebuilders were criticised for doubling ground rents

Stop Taylor Wimpey's Ground Rent From Doubling4th Dec 2019

by Nick Leedham on 4th Dec 2019

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Our solicitors are helping more and more leaseholders who were caught out by housebuilder Taylor Wimpey’s doubling ground rent.

FTSE 100-listed Taylor Wimpey has bowed to mounting pressure over ground rents that double every 10 years (and make it hard for leaseholders to sell their homes).

Taylor Wimpey has been writing to leaseholders. It offers to:

  • stop the ground rent from doubling by changing the lease terms with a deed of variation
  • replace the ‘doubling’ clause with one that links future increases in the ground rent to RPI inflation
  • pay leaseholders’ legal fees up to a maximum of £750 when they appoint a solicitor (of their choice) if certain criteria are fulfilled.

Is Your Ground Rent Rising Sharply? Book A Free Chat

Should I Accept Taylor Wimpey’s Offer?

Not without taking legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in residential leasehold property law.

This is a complex area of the law. A significant number of homebuyers who got caught in the ‘doubling rent trap’ did so because they:

  • might not have read the small print
  • might have been badly advised by general lawyers who lacked sufficient expertise in leasehold matters.

Taylor Wimpey’s letters say that you are under no obligation to sign a deed of variation – but that your ground rent will continue to double if you do not.

And the letter warns what will happen if you choose not to proceed: “Taylor Wimpey will not be making any additional offer to customers covered by our agreement with your freeholder.”

That’s a polite way of saying ‘take it or leave it’.

But be careful! Get expert legal advice from a specialist leasehold solicitor before you sign. There are important pros and cons to weigh up…

How Much Would My Ground Rent Rise By If I Signed?

The deed of variation would link your ground rent to the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation. Your ground rent liability would rise in line with RPI inflation.

This is important to note because RPI is usually a higher rate of inflation than the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation measure (which may be the one your employer will use when calculating your annual pay rise).

So Taylor Wimpey’s offer to link your ground rent to RPI would probably cost you more than if it were linked to CPI. But it is likely to be more acceptable to mortgage lenders than a ground rent that doubles every 10 years.

Get Expert Legal Advice On Your Ground Rent

For more information, please contact residential leasehold solicitor Nick Leedham at Coles Miller’s Bournemouth office, 01202 355697.