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Leasehold terms to be removed by Countryside and Taylor Wimpey

Friday 19 March 2021

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has told Countryside Properties and Taylor Wimpey to remove certain contract terms that require leaseholders to pay ground rents that double every ten or 15 years.

As this increase is built into contracts, it means people can struggle to sell or mortgage their homes and find themselves trapped. These terms can also affect a consumer's property rights and the CMA outlined specific concerns that the use of these terms breaks consumer protection law. The removal of the terms from all existing contracts will make sure no laws are being breached, as well as not being used in any future leasehold contracts.

On 4 September 2020, as part of its ongoing investigations, the CMA opened enforcement cases having uncovered troubling evidence of potential mis-selling and unfair contract terms and launched enforcement action against four housing developers. Countryside Properties and Taylor Wimpey, for using possibly unfair contract terms, and Barratt Developments and Persimmon Homes over the possible mis-selling of leasehold homes.

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If these developers do not address our concerns, we will take further action, including through the courts, if necessary.

Andrea Coscelli, CMA Chief Executive

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The Government asked the CMA to conduct this investigation. I strongly welcome their efforts to bring justice to homeowners affected by unfair practices, such as crippling ground rents, which have no place in our housing market. This behaviour must end, and I look forward to appropriate redress being forthcoming for leaseholders.

Robert Jenrick, Housing Secretary

Further investigations

As part of its ongoing review, the CMA will continue to investigate certain firms – such as investment companies – which bought freeholds from these developers and have continued to use the same leasehold contract terms. Its investigation into Barratt Developments and Persimmon Homes is also ongoing.

Advice

The CMA has produced written and video guidance, which offers advice on a number of issues, including what people can do when faced with fees and charges they consider unjustified.

Leasehold: A Life Sentence?

Propertymark’s Leasehold: A Life Sentence? report revealed three in five (62 per cent) leasehold property owners felt they were mis-sold and a further 93 per cent would not buy another leasehold property.

Find out more about our calls to tackle unfair practices in the leasehold market below.

Find out more