Government’s Proposals: Unfair New Build Leasehold Terms

09 August 2017

You may be aware of the growing media attention new build leasehold properties are currently receiving. A number of home owners have come forward complaining of unfair charges being levied against them.

Leaseholds on new builds could be banned altogether with ground rents being dramatically reduced. Ground rents have been known to double every decade crippling home owners and in some instances making it difficult to sell.

The Government have noted that there appeared to be a particular issue in the North-West of England. Leaseholders will generally pay ground rent to the freeholder but can often be caught off guard by clauses in the Lease allowing for ground rents to escalate considerably over the years – this is in addition to service charge payments.

Some Conveyancers are alleging that if developers were not clear about the leaseholds, it may be a case of misrepresentation. Anyone marketing a property is protected by consumer unfair trading regulations. This means that buyers should be made aware of anything that may affect their decision to purchase before they view the property.

In a debate on leasehold reforms in Parliament last year, MPs said thousands of home buyers were being ‘ripped off left right and centre’ and that it was ‘nothing short of a national scandal’.

So, what exactly is the Government proposing to do?

  • Potentially ending leaseholds for new property developments
  • Set a minimum lease length for new flats
  • Ban charges deemed to be unfair or too onerous
  • Preventing developers from selling the freehold to investment companies

 

Should the Government enforce the above proposals, the new changes will be welcomed by all new home owners and will afford them the reassurance that they are not being exploited with unfair charges and unfavourable ground rent agreements.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Conveyancing Department directly on 01254 297130 or via email at property@curtislaw.co.uk.