Lease extension solicitors and leasehold property specialists at Holmes & Hills are advising leaseholders across the country who bought Taylor Wimpey properties, which have doubling ground rents.
Taylor Wimpey has introduced its Leasehold Assistance Scheme (also known as its Ground Rent Review Assistance Scheme) to help leaseholders who own properties it built that have 10 year doubling ground rent clauses within their leases. The scheme will allow affected and qualifying leaseholders to vary the ground rent clause/s within their lease without paying a fee to the freeholder, Taylor Wimpey or any other third party (i.e. management company).
To benefit from the scheme, leaseholders must:
There has been much bad press surrounding doubling ground rent clauses, particularly where related to new-build properties. Taylor Wimpey undertook a review which considered widespread concerns that had been raised by leaseholders that had bought its properties and other stakeholders, relating to the issue of doubling ground rent clauses within leases. In particular the review considered the impact on saleability and mortgageability of affected leasehold properties.
Taylor Wimpey state that whilst they are not legally obliged to assist leaseholders with varying their leases and removing doubling ground rent clauses, following their review they recognise the concern and wish to assist their customers.
Under Taylor Wimpey’s Ground Rent Review (Leasehold) Assistance Scheme, leaseholders do not need to pay any sum to Taylor Wimpey, the freeholder that owns the freehold block/building or any management company.
Under normal circumstances a leaseholder would have to pay their freeholder a sum of money in order to have the freeholder agree to amend a ground rent clause and this sum can be significant. There would also potentially be administrative fees charged by third parties such as a management company. You would also normally have to pay the legal fees of the freeholder. Under the Taylor Wimpey Scheme leaseholders do not pay these costs.
Leaseholders will need to obtain independent legal advice from a specialist leasehold enfranchisement solicitor when taking advantage of the scheme. Specialist leasehold property solicitors at Holmes & Hills are already advising Taylor Wimpey leaseholders across the county. As part of the scheme, Taylor Wimpey will contribute to and cover the vast majority of the legal fee.
Holmes & Hills Solicitors is providing leaseholders that are taking advantage of the Taylor Wimpey Leasehold Assistance Scheme a discounted legal fee so that the contribution from Taylor Wimpey covers the vast majority of the legal fee cost to the leaseholder.
Those that own more than one leasehold property that qualify under the Taylor Wimpey Scheme will need to make an application for each individual property.
If you own a leasehold property that was built by Taylor Wimpey and which has a doubling ground rent clause, but you did not buy the property new, you do not qualify for the scheme. However, you can still seek free initial guidance on your options and on the implications of your doubling ground rent clause from Holmes & Hills Solicitors.
Not all leaseholders that purchased a new leasehold property from Taylor Wimpey and which have a 10 year doubling ground rent are currently able to benefit from the scheme. This is because Taylor Wimpey does not own the freehold to all of the relevant freehold blocks/buildings. Taylor Wimpey has had to negotiate with freeholders and this would have meant very difficult discussions since removing the doubling ground rent clauses will dramatically reduce the value of the freehold block/building for the owner.
Taylor Wimpey has not currently been able to secure agreement from all of the relevant freeholders, although it is our understanding that negotiations are on-going.
If you do not currently qualify for assistance under the scheme because your block or building is not owned by one of the participating freeholders, contact Holmes & Hills Solicitors for free initial advice on your options.