B

Rochdale Observer - - PROPERTY & LIVING -

UYERS of lease­hold prop­er­ties ap­pear to get a bad deal. Un­happy pur­chasers in­clud­ing Which? mem­bers re­port fac­ing es­ca­lat­ing costs, with “ground rent” some­times dou­bling every 10 years, and po­ten­tially find­ing homes un­sellable as some banks refuse to lend on lease­hold prop­er­ties.

This con­cern is backed by a re­cent property own­ers sur­vey from Home Own­ers Al­liance which found 50% see the cur­rent lease­hold­free­hold sys­tem (in­clud­ing ser­vice charges and ground rent) as a very se­ri­ous or se­ri­ous prob­lem, up from 42% in 2016.

The Gov­ern­ment is promis­ing to re­form lease­hold – but that might not help cur­rent own­ers.

The worst dif­fi­cul­ties are found in some re­cent new build houses sold as lease­hold in­stead of the more cus­tom­ary free­hold in Eng­land and Wales. The sys­tem is dif­fer­ent in Scot­land.

Lease­hold starts out a lit­tle cheaper but un­like free­hold­ers who own the land on which their home is built, lease­hold­ers have to pay an­nual “ground rent” to the free­holder. Lease­hold has usu­ally ap­plied to flats where no one res­i­dent owns the land and where there are ser­vice charges for ar­eas owned in com­mon such as the en­trance and stair­wells. At the end of the lease, the property re­verts to the free­holder.

The 999 year leases sound long. But small print clauses say the ground rent can

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.