Removal of ground rent on leasehold homes strongly supported by officials

The removal of ground rents from leasehold homes built by Countryside and Taylor Wimpey is strongly supported by the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA).

The CMA has written to two of the UK’s biggest housebuilding organisations requesting that they amend their leasehold terms – including the removal of ground rent.

The National Leasehold Campaign (NLC), the UK’s biggest campaign group on leasehold reform, welcomes the support from the CMA. The contract terms means leaseholders must pay ground rent that doubles every 10 to 15 years – highlighted as “unfair” and a “trap” by the CMA.

The contract makes it harder for people to sell or mortgage their homes. CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli commented: “These ground rent terms can make it impossible for people to sell or get a mortgage on their homes, meaning they find themselves trapped. This is unacceptable. Countryside and Taylor Wimpey must entirely remove all these terms from existing contracts to make sure that they are on the right side of the law. If these developers do not address our concerns, we will take further action, including through the courts, if necessary.”

NLC founder and spokeswoman Katie Kendrick, a children’s nurse from Ellesmere Port said:

“This announcement proves how unfair these contract terms are.  We are delighted that CMA is calling this out and making the key players accountable for creating leases with ground rent terms that are unfair.  However, ground rents are only one of the ways for freehold investors to make money at the expense of leaseholders.”

“Leaseholders are navigating a feudal system that is stacked against them with rip-off permission fees, escalating service charges and, for many new build estates, estate management fees.

Cath Williams, co-founder of the NLC, says doubling ground rents should be dropped from existing leasehold contracts, as well as new leasehold contracts:

“People will have lots of questions and this could take time, as many of the developers have sold the freeholds on to offshore investors.”

“We hope that this announcement will help every leaseholder that has onerous doubling ground rent, regardless of whether they bought the property from new.  I know from my own difficult and expensive escape from the leasehold trap how much anguish it causes.”

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