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Newlyweds trapped unable to sell home by legal catch that means ground rent doubles every decade; By the end of the full lease, the ground rent will have soared to a whopping [pounds sterling]307,200 a year.

Byline: mirror

A young couple are stuck unable to sell their home after they discovered a legal catch that means their ground rent doubles every decade.

Newlyweds Nathan and Tasha Stewart bought their first house in Soham, Cambridgeshire in 2014.

It was only they tried to sell their leasehold property, built by housing firmTaylor Wimpey, they found out about the punitive clause.

Nathan, a 27-year-old marketing manager, said it is almost impossible to sell thehouse, as most mortgage companies refuse to lend for these types of leasehold properties now.

Nathan and Tasha's ground rent started at just [pounds sterling]150 before doubling in January to [pounds sterling]300 a year, theCambridge Newsreports.

Leasehold 'extortion' to be banned as Government cracks down on greedy developers

By the end of the full 125-year lease, which started in 2008, the ground rent will soar to an eye watering [pounds sterling]307,200 annually.

If the couple were to stay in their home until their 70s, their annual payment would rise to [pounds sterling]9,600.

Nathan said the ground rent catch only came to light when they tried to sell their home.

He added: "We put our coach house on the market last October and the sale was agreed at [pounds sterling]175,000 pretty quickly.

"Everything was going smoothly and we were ready to exchange contracts, but the buyer's solicitor asked for a sales pack from the ground rent company and uncovered the clause.

"The solicitor told us the majority of mortgage companies won't lend on it, so I quickly contacted Taylor Wimpey to ask them to do something, because otherwise I would lose the four-bed semi we were buying.

Why so many homeowners are worried about leasehold - and your options if you're locked in one

"They did nothing, the sale fell through and I lost about [pounds sterling]2,500.

"Countless people bought Taylor Wimpey houses and all got mortgages in the past, but now it is getting harder and harder to get mortgages on them and sell them.

"I believe that now the issue has got a lot of press coverage,mortgage lendersare more aware of it and wary of lending.

"If solicitors had been telling people about these clauses, Tasha and I - and thousands of others - wouldn't be in this position, as we wouldn't have bought the house."

Founders of the National Leasehold Campaign, Katie Kendrick and Jo Derbyshire, both bought Taylor Wimpey homes and were caught out by similar catches in their leasehold agreements.

Jo said: "Leasehold has been around for a long time, so it was never seen as something that would cause any problems.

"It has only been in the last 10 to 20 years that this new type of leasehold with onerous ground rents and horrible permission fees was drummed up."

"There is no easy way out of this. The only way to get rid of the contractual obligations imposed by Taylor Wimpey or the new freeholder is to get a very good solicitor who will argue it out with them, or to go to tribunal. Both ways are costly and there is no guarantee you will win."

A spokeswoman for Taylor Wimpey said: "Last year Taylor Wimpey announced a voluntary scheme specifically aimed at addressing concerns raised by some of our direct customers regarding how easy it is to sell or get a mortgage on properties with a 10-year doubling ground rent clause.

"We have now reached agreements with freeholders to enable the significant majority of our customers with a 10-year doubling lease to convert their ground rent terms to an RPI-based structure, should the customer wish to do so.

"These agreements address concerns about the saleability and mortgageability of these properties -- by making the ground rents much more affordable.

"Similar to all major housebuilders, on developments where homes are sold on a leasehold basis, Taylor Wimpey has always sold its underlying freehold interests.

"This is because the administrative structures needed to manage a portfolio of freehold interests are very different to a housebuilder's core business."

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Credit: Cambridge Live

Nathan and Tasha Stewart are trying to raise awareness of issues with leasehold properties so others do not find themselves unable to sell their homes

Credit: Cambridge Live

Newlyweds Nathan and Tasha bought their first home in 2014

Credit: Cambridge Live

The young couple say they are now stuck unable to sell their home because of the clause

Credit: Cambridge Live

Katie Kendrick and Jo Derbyshire at Westminster with other National Leasehold campaigners
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Title Annotation:News,UK News
Publication:Daily Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 21, 2018
Words:750
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