“Huge relief” to be free from Doubling Ground Rent Clause
Madeleine, one of our clients, talks about how her doubling ground rent affected her and how we helped her resolve it.
Madeleine bought her Taylor Wimpey leasehold house in 2008 in Horwich. It wasn’t until November 2016 when she was made aware that her lease came with a doubling ground rent clause, after receiving a payment request of £500.
Before this, she knew nothing about this clause, and only remembered seeing that the ground rent would be £250 a year on the first page of her lease.
After going back to check her lease, she was shocked to find a doubling ground rent clause on the 4th page, which said that her ground rent would double every 10 years for 50 years. This would have meant that Madeleine’s rent would eventually go from £250 to £8,000.
She then began a professional negligence claim with another Solicitor but didn’t have much luck. “I felt like I was in no man’s land as the Solicitor sat on my file as they were inundated with cases. Eventually, they told me they weren’t dealing with claims against Conveyancing Solicitors,” continues Madeleine.
After attending a NLC event in Manchester, Madeleine got chatting to Head of Professional Negligence at Simpson Millar, Robert Godfrey. After telling him about her leasehold case, he agreed to look at her file.
She remembers clearly that her Conveyancing Solicitor never pointed out this clause and never advised her about it.
"I did some research online, and after joining the National Leasehold Campaign (NLC) group on Facebook, I found that other people were having the same problems as me all over the country,” said Madeleine.
Taylor Wimpey made an offer to change her lease, which meant her rent would no longer double every 10 years, but would instead increase with Retail Price Index (RPI). She was reluctant to take this offer at the time as she felt that things would move quicker if she went down the legal route.
Madeleine got in touch with her Conveyancing Solicitor. After 3 months or so, they got back to her admitting that they didn’t give her sufficient information about the doubling ground rent clause. “I felt fairly confident after this that I could make a claim for compensation,” she said.
Robert took on Madeleine’s case, and after some negotiation with the Conveyancing Solicitors, Madeleine was awarded £8,000 in compensation.
“I’ve had one or two worries along the way,” said Madeleine, “But 4 years later, I am beginning the process of buying the freehold for my house and it’s a huge relief.”
“After speaking to neighbours who were struggling with similar problems, we formed a group to disseminate information and encourage others to fight for the abolition of leasehold. I really recommend getting help from a professional who will fight on their behalf and get the job done.”
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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Billingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Catterick, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.