RESIDENTS caught up in a ground rent scandal have slammed property giant Taylor Wimpey’s compensation offer as ‘insulting.’
Householders of Stonemere Drive, Radcliffe, were sold leasehold homes by housebuilding company Taylor Wimpey between 2007 and 2010.
Along with thousands of others who bought from the housebuilder between 2007 and 2011, they became locked into a leasehold contract under which the ground rent doubled every 10 years.
The contracts saddled many buyers with a huge financial burden, leaving their homes ‘almost unsellable’, they believe.
Analysis by campaign group National Leasehold Campaign last year revealed that nearly £2billion worth of new-build leasehold houses were sold in England and Wales last year, including many in the North West.
In response to the controversy Taylor Wimpey has put aside a £130million pot to deal with the problem, and offered residents a new deal in which ground rents will rise in line with the retail price index instead of doubling every decade.
A spokesman for Taylor Wimpey said: “This is about doing what we think is right. We recognise the concerns that have been raised and although we are under no legal obligation to take action, we want to help our customers.”
But Mike Rooke, a resident of Stonemere Drive and a leading member of the National Leasehold Campaign, said: “Taylor Wimpey, yet again, are ignoring the wishes of their ‘tenants’ who simply want to own their own freehold and would have bought it at the outset prior to it being sold on by Taylor Wimpey without telling them.
“The Taylor Wimpey offer still places the ‘tenant’, who only owns his bricks and mortar, under leasehold and the offer is still expected to apply retail price index- linked figures on an already doubled onerous ground rent of £500 to £600 per annum and still contains restricted covenants such as requiring a fee of £900 for a shed or £5,000 for a conservatory.
“All in all the offer has merely served to stiffen the resolve of the National Leasehold Campaign Group who have now begun to fight back with vehicles being parked up where sites have been identified as still selling homes leasehold irrespective of who the house builder is. This has educated more people to the blight of buying a leasehold property.”
The compensation is going to be paid to either the current leaseholder or to solicitors as part of the fixed contribution to legal costs proposed.
Mr Rooke added: “Credit to Taylor Wimpey’s PR machine for being the first of the major house builders to try to place a positive spin on the mess they have got us into.”