The leasehold property scandal rocking the new homes industry


[MUSIC PLAYING] – This detached property in Merseyside might
look idyllic, but the family who live here say their dream home has become a nightmare. In 2011, Andrea Millward bought this
two story house for her young family. Like a growing number of first time
buyers, it was on a leasehold basis. She was told the annual ground
rent would be 295 pounds, and says her property lawyer assured her
this wouldn’t be reviewed for 25 years. – We were really, really excited. It was going to be our first home together. We had a little one who was one-year-old. We kept driving by the house just to see what
it was like, having a peek in the garden, and things like that, seeing it being built. – The future looked bright, until by chance Andrea
discovered a far steeper price hike was imminent. – The first I knew of any trouble with it was when
my neighbour knocked on the door in January last year, 2017. And she said, did you know that
your ground rent is set to double? So I was like, no, ours isn’t set to double. She said, I think you’ll find it is. You need to go and check your lease. It’s not written in plain English your
ground rent will double on this date. It’s all hidden. And you have to decipher what it means. – As unfair as it might
seem, the clause Andrea fell foul of is actually fairly common, and lawful. Instead of a lease starting when a new
build homeowner buys their property, the terms of the ground rent review can be
backdated to when a development was built. In the Millward family’s
case, this meant the clock started ticking three years
before they bought their home. And the results? A ground rent bill set to double every 10, not
25 years as they were first led to believe. – But who’s going to be able to afford that? To feel so angry and furious, and then to not be
listened to, it just makes you want to scream. We have had two estate agents
come around to the property. And the first estate agent told me that he didn’t
want to take our money to advertise the property. And the second estate agent
refused to advertise it as well. – If you’re a leaseholder and have been caught
out by escalating ground rent in your home, get in touch by emailing
[email protected]

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