As we have discussed in our property blog, over the last few years many new build houses, especially in Yorkshire or Lancashire, have been sold as leasehold rather than freehold. This means that the homeowner is obliged to pay an annual rent to the developer who retains the ownership of the land. A feature of many of these leases is that the ground rent doubles every ten years leaving the homeowner in a precarious position.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government recently released some proposals for dealing with this issue, the full report is here.
One of the striking suggestions was that the government positively suggesting that those who have already purchase a leasehold property should look for redress by bringing a negligence action against the solicitors who advised them in respect of the purchase.
Clearly, if a conveyancer has not advised their client in respect of important terms of the lease they are taking on, then the homeowner may have a potential negligence claim.
In our view, any proper advice should include setting out what the increases in the ground rent would be over a number of years and also the knock on effect that this would have on the future purchase price of the freehold.
Good conveyancers will have done this, unfortunately over recent years some firms have done conveyancing on a bulk basis and this can lead to important details being missed. This problem is particularly prominent in the new build housing market where developers often recommend a solicitor to the purchaser and even sometimes makes a contribution to the legal costs, potential placing the conveyancer in a difficult position.
If you have been effected by these issues please feel free to speak to our team of specialist professional negligence solicitors who can help you. The initial consultation will be free and the majority of the professional negligence work is done on a no win-no fee basis. Contact our Professional Negligence team on 01924 457171.