August 11, 2022

‘Another £40 to Tchenguiz for selling my dad’s retirement leasehold flat’

For the Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation readership
We recently sold my fathers McCarthy and Stone flat.
One of the problems we came up against was we had to prove that the Ground Rent was paid to Estates & Management so we requested a receipt for the last payment we made. They sent a letter stating they do not send receipts as the account can be accessed via a computer, but if I specifically requested one they would but at a cost of £40.
We thought this was a unfair business practice and wanted to make sure you knew about it. We find it particularly bad as only a limited number of older people use computers and are used to receiving receipts to keep their records straight.
When you come to sell one of these properties you have to provide evidence that the bills are up to date and they can then charge you for this information.
Not to get started on exit fees, something we now have to pay, but calculating that the Tchenguiz Family Trust has 53,000 properties at a average exit fee of £1,000, that’s 53 million pounds.
It was astounding that the Office of Fair Trading took the view that the freeholders are entitled to this money despite not doing anything for it and it being an unfair contract term. One can give up on the hope of our government ever doing the right thing.
Because of the avariciousness of those in retirement leasehold buying a flat has now never been better with prices at a third off what they were. Selling of course is the other side of the coin and we estimate that we sold my fathers flat for at least £35,000 less than it would have gone for had the sector not been depressed. And probably would not have taken almost three years.
I hope Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation keeps up the good work highlighting companies like Peveral and eventually force our government to do something about it.

Comments

  1. After the trauma of selling your Father’s flat, I will understand it if you have no appetite for any further battles. However, if (like me) you think the exit fee is an ‘unfair contract term; you can go where the Office of Fair Trading feared to tread, and sue the freeholder in a Small Claims Court. It’s neither difficult nor expensive. Just a bit tedious. You might not win. But then again, you might. We need lots of people to stand up and challenge these fees. If enough people challenge them, and win, this would be a major breakthrough for everyone.
    I took Fairhold to Court, and though I lost the case, I now have their entire legal defence. I’m quite happy to share this with you (ask Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation for my contact details). Fairhold produced their defence on the day of the hearing, so I was unprepared. But no-one else will be!

  2. Michael Epstein says

    Susan,
    As usual you have given very good advice, Part of the OFT agreement over exit fees was that the freeholder could not describe the exit fee as a service or condition of sale. the significance of this is that it rules out a reference to the OFT.
    So the only alternative for a leaseholder is to take the freeholder to the small claims court.
    The risk to the leaseholder is about £100. The risk to the freeholder is losing all their exit fee income.
    Do not be scared by the thought of court action. The small claims court is not like a higher court. You can even process your claim on line. I think you would increase the chances of a “win” if you had paid a £1000 exit charge, but only claimed £750, thereby allowing the freeholder £250 to cover any costs associated with the sale. Let them justify the extra payment in court.

  3. But if the lease was granted after 1-1-1996 then the assignee, new owner, has no liability for outstanding charges. A receipt is therefore not required.