The need for individuals to be advised by qualified and reliable conveyancing lawyers when buying a home has become more apparent than ever, as a surge in the number of claims against conveyancers is reported.
Risk and insurance law firm BLM recently shared that in the last twelve months, they had received more than 400 potential claims against law firms. The claims relate to a lack of advice given to home owners when buying leasehold properties.
At the end of last year, it emerged that buyers of newbuild leasehold properties were being tied into leases with excessive ground rents.
Ground rent is an annual payment made to the landlord but a practice has developed whereby some developers are selling new leasehold homes which tie buyers into increasing ground rents, typically every twenty five years and which in some instances have increased up to £10,000 a year.
This clearly has a significant impact on the annual costs to home owners and their ability to sell on their homes. This has meant that some lenders are now refusing to lend on such properties.
However, if buyers had been advised correctly of the terms in the leases initially, they would not have ended up in this unfortunate situation.
The increased awareness has put pressure on the Government to make reforms around leasehold properties – ground rents are one of a number of poor practices taking place in the leasehold area. There is currently a consultation period ongoing around this, with reform potentially happening next year.