Report comment

Please fill in the form to report an unsuitable comment. Please state which comment is of concern and why. It will be sent to our moderator for review.


I understood that the ground rent doubling deals related to properties that were sold more affordably with the expectation that the buyer would acquire the freehold for a modest sum when he could afford to do so.
It was effectively a deferred capital payment so that the buyer could get into the market with a better property than he could otherwise afford.
On that basis it would have been perfectly reasonable for the builder to expect the buyer to purchase the freehold within the first ten year period and then the periodic increase would no longer be an issue. Indeed, the penal potential of the clause served as a means of incentivising the buyer to acquire the freehold within that ten year period.
There would have been no negligence by the solicitor in that scenario.
What then seems to have 'gone wrong' is that those unsold freeholds acquired substantially increased market values because third party investors saw the escalating ground rents as yielding potential future gains and the builders started selling the freeholds to them so that the buyers could no longer buy their freeholds at the originally expected modest price within the first ten year period.
The solicitors could not have foreseen that and so could not have been negligent.
The fault lies with the builders in reneging on the spirit of the original intention to sell the freeholds to the buyers at a reasonable price within the first ten years. When the lenders realised that the freeholds were being sold off to third party investors they realised that their security might be at risk and only at that stage did the properties develop mortgage problems.
The solicitors could not have predicted that either.
I do hope that our insurers deploy defences along such lines.

Your details