Do you own a Taylor Wimpey Property?
The sale of new properties as leaseholds subject to ground rents that double regularly is a topic that has been featured a lot in the press in recent months. National builders, Taylor Wimpey, have responded to criticism and launched a scheme whereby they will agree to amend the offending provisions in their lease free of charge to original buyers, with subsequent owners able to ask for the provisions to be amended, if they pay their own legal fees. John Blake, Senior Residential Conveyancer, explains more about the scheme and how a deed of variation could help you if you are subject to doubling ground rents.
Leasehold properties and ground rent
Leasehold properties are ordinarily flats, but a growing number of houses are or were being sold this way. As the leaseholder, you own the property but not the land; it is the freeholder who owns the land and will normally be the developer or their successor. You will be responsible for ground rent payments to your freeholder.
Some Taylor Wimpey properties have doubling ground rent clauses which double the ground rent every 10 years. This makes the property less desirable due to the increasing cost; for example a house with a ground rent of £200 in 2018, which then doubles every 10 years, by 2078 the ground rent would be £12,800 a year. While you may not own the property by then, the marketability or mortgagability of that property will decline as future property owners will not find the prospect an enticing one. Another complication property owners can find themselves faced with is that some mortgage lenders decline to lend on such properties.
Deed of Variation for doubling ground rent clauses
If you own a Taylor Wimpey leasehold property and have a doubling ground rent clause, then you can apply to vary your lease, which would remove or amend the clause.
“This is the Ground Rent Review Assistance Scheme that Taylor Wimpey has invested £130 million into, to pay fees for Deeds of Variation for anyone who bought a property from them while they were the freeholder” explains John. They are aiming to convert the doubling ground rent clauses to be RPI (Retail Price Index) related, which is a more commonly used index for ground rents. As part of the Deed of Variation, there will be a requirement to instruct a solicitor for the legal proceedings; an area we have many of years experience in. The scheme also applies to owners of Taylor Wimpey properties bought other than from new.”
If you are the owner of a Taylor Wimpey property and you feel you may be eligible for the Ground Rent Review Assistance Scheme, please contact us and we can investigate the possibility of altering your lease and ensuring so far as possible your property remains saleable. For more details on how John or the residential Property Team can help you with a Deed of Variation, contact them on 023 9277 6549 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.