In the absence of any legislation restricting the level of ground rent a landlord can charge, this clause means that the initial annual ground rent doubles after just ten years, and then every ten years afterwards before being capped from the fiftieth year of the term onwards.
This might seem too far off for you to worry about now, but it is important to remember that these terms might affect the value or mortgageability of your property. Some major lenders have already amended their guidelines for solicitors concerning properties affected with doubling ground rent clauses, and others have decided not to lend against them outright. If mortgage lenders consider the clauses within your lease to be too onerous, then it may become more difficult to remortgage or sell your property in the future.
What can be done to fix this?
To address customer concerns, Taylor Wimpey have introduced a scheme to help private property owners who purchased their properties from them directly and whose leases contain this problematic doubling ground rent clause.
The scheme involves using a legal document called a Deed of Variation to remove the ground rent review provisions in your lease and replace them with “materially less expensive ground rent review terms”. This usually involves increasing the rent in line with the Retail Prices Index (RPI) rather than arbitrarily doubling it. Whilst nobody can predict the course of inflation in the future, mortgage lenders are generally satisfied with this provision, which means that once your lease has been varied you should find it easier to remortgage or sell your property.
You can read more about this scheme on their website: https://www.taylorwimpey.co.uk/leaseholdfaq
Property-owning companies and private homeowners who have purchased a Taylor Wimpey property from a third party are not eligible for the scheme, unfortunately.
What will this cost me?
Nothing. Taylor Wimpey will cover their own legal costs as well as your landlord’s and pay £750 towards yours. If you choose Lockings Solicitors to act for you, we will limit our costs to £750 (including VAT and expenses), which means you won’t have to pay a penny to have this put right. And why should you?
What do I need to do first?
Unfortunately not every private homeowner who bought from Taylor Wimpey directly is eligible for the scheme. This is because Taylor Wimpey is no longer the freeholder (landlord) of the estates that the company built, which means that they have to secure the agreement of each new landlord to the proposed changes before they can offer the scheme to that particular landlord’s estate, and not all of them have agreed – at least not yet.
Your first step should be to check that you are eligible by completing Taylor Wimpey’ online application form. We at Lockings Solicitors are happy to offer you free, no-obligation advice and assistance with this form should you require it.
If you do qualify for assistance, Taylor Wimpey will ask you to nominate a solicitor to act for you. With our vast leasehold experience and emphasis on client satisfaction, our Residential Conveyancing Team at Lockings Solicitors is a smart choice.
If you do not qualify, then there may be other remedies open to you, particularly if you were not advised about this doubling ground rent clause when you purchased your property.
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