The property firm has today (22 December) voluntarily agreed to remove these terms from both existing and new leaseholders’ contracts. No ground rents had actually doubled since Taylor Wimpey set-up these leases, so no refunds need to be made-though homeowners may have struggled to sell their home or remortgage due to these clauses.
This doesn’t, however, apply to people with leases that were sold on by Taylor Wimpey to a new freeholder. In this instance, your only option is to contact your freeholder and ask if it will make the same changes as Taylor Wimpey. The CMA couldn’t say how many leases had been sold on by Taylor Wimpey.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) first opened an investigation into several property firms, including Taylor Wimpey, in September 2020 after uncovering “troubling evidence” of potentially unfair terms and mis-selling. The CMA then wrote to Taylor Wimpey in March this year asking it to ban the use of doubling ground rent terms.
Around 4.5 million people in England currently own their home on a leasehold basis-typically flat owners and some new-build property owners. This means while you own the property, you don’t own the land it sits on. The land is instead owned by a freeholder, which can be an individual or a management company, and you typically have to pay rent to them on an annual basis (known as’ground rent’) for a set number of years. See our What is a leasehold? guide for more info on how they work.