Leasehold Property Claims - Professional Negligence

Leasehold Property Claims – Have you got concerns about your leasehold?

  • Do you feel that you were given bad advice before you purchased your home?
  • Has your ground rent been increased?
  • Did you believe that you would be able to purchase your freehold only to find out you can’t afford it?
  • Has the freehold been sold to a 3rd party?
  • Worried you won’t be able to sell your property because of the leasehold issues you have?

If any of the above applies to you, you might able to make a claim against your solicitor / conveyancer, to see if you could make a claim, contact Simpson Millar for free initial advice.

Leasehold Properties Disputes – What are leaseholds?

If you buy a property that is leasehold, you will own the house (bricks and mortar) but not the land that it is built on, the land is owned by the Freeholder, this can mean that you have to pay ground rent to the Freeholder and you might not be able to make some types of alterations to your property without the permission of the Freeholder, such as adding a conservatory or building a garage. Once the leasehold has ended the title of your property returns back to the Freeholder.

What problems might you face with a leasehold property?

  • The freehold being sold to another 3rd party
  • Increases in ground rent / service charges
  • Unaffordable Freehold, you can’t afford to purchase the Freehold
  • Reselling your property
    • Issues with other purchases gaining a mortgage on your property

Change of ownership in freehold

The freehold of your property can be sold to other 3rd parties, and recently we have heard that a significant number of Freeholders are selling on the freeholds they own to third parties, the new owners often want to make a profit and look at opportunities to make fees; this can include increasing ground rents or the price of the freehold.

Increasing Ground Rents / Services Charges

In the past most, leasehold properties were apartments and the owner of the apartment would pay a small ground rent or services charge to the freeholder, this could be as little as £1 per annum.

More recently developers began selling houses with leaseholds and some developers have been changing ground rent, this ground rent can be £200 – £400 per annum, however a lot have clauses have allowed the developer to double that amount every 10 years.

If you have experienced increases in your ground rent, or are facing an increase you are not alone, current estimates are that around 100,000 homeowners could be facing ground rent raises.

Can’t afford to purchase your Freehold

A lot of people bought a leasehold property with a plan in the future to buy the freehold of the property. They had been led to believe that this would be possible in the future only to find out the cost of the freehold made it prohibitive.

Problems selling leasehold properties

Many purchasers of leasehold properties find that they are unable to sell the property because some lenders will not grant mortgages on homes with excessive ground rent clauses.

Who is responsible?

Leasehold Scandal – Claims against your conveyancer

There are several facts that your conveyancing solicitor should have informed you about when you were looking at purchasing a leasehold property.

When you were purchasing your property your conveyancing solicitor, when advising you on the lease, should have told you about the possible financial implications of the ground rent. In addition, your solicitor should also have informed your mortgage lender of any increase in ground rent, since this could have an impact on the property’s value.

Your solicitor should have informed you of potential issues that you and your family might face if there is an increase in the price of the freehold.

If your conveyancing solicitor failed to inform your lender or yourself of the properties freehold or lease terms which could have caused you financial loss, or financial stress you might be eligible to claim against your solicitor.

How we can help you – the Simpson Millar process

If you instruct Simpson Millar to act on your behalf all you need to do is provide us with the authority and we will get your file from your conveyancer, the solicitor who acted for you when you purchased of your property.

Once we have you file we will review it so we can understand the legal issues and assess if you have a case. If we believe that you have a claim we will offer you a “No Win / No Fee” contract. This review is free of charge.

Our solicitors are specialists and have well-respected reputations, over half of our work comes from recommendations.

  • All our staff are passionate about helping, and strive to give a 1st class service
  • We are understanding and patient through what can be a very difficult time
  • We are experienced in all types of professional negligence claims
  • We offer free initial advice
  • We offer “No win No Fee” for leasehold claims
  • There are no hidden charges
  • We are approachable and here to give friendly, complete and realistic advice
  • You will have direct access to your solicitor
  • We are a national law firm and can help you no matter where you are, in the UK with offices in:
    • London
    • Manchester
    • Leeds
    • Birmingham
    • Bristol
    • Cardiff
    • Lancaster

No matter where you are in the UK our solicitors are here to help.

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Robert Godfrey | Partner, Dispute Resolution | Simpson Millar LLP

Robert Godfrey
Partner, Dispute Resolution

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