The Competition and Markets Authority (the “CMA”) is opening enforcement cases focusing on four of the UK’s biggest housebuilders after uncovering evidence that buyers of leasehold properties were misled and charged excessive fees.
The CMA has written to Barratt Developments, Countryside Properties, Persimmon Homes and Taylor Wimpey demanding information about how they operated. It is also telling other firms to review their policies.
The CMA’s investigation relates to the following areas:
Unfair contract terms – ground rents
Escalating Ground Rent based on the Retail Price Index (RPI)
It should not be assumed at this stage of the CMA’s investigation that the businesses under investigation have been involved in any or all of the outlined practices.How the case proceeds will depend on the CMA’s assessment of the evidence. Possible outcomes include legal commitments from the companies to change the way they do business, or if necessary, the CMA could take firms to court.
For people who own, or are looking to buy, a leasehold property, 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.
People wishing to provide further evidence regarding the companies named can get in touch via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The CMA is interested in hearing information on either leasehold houses and/or flats, referred to above as leasehold homes.
Pinney Talfourd are experts in lease extensions and can advise you on changes to the law so you are given up to date advice.
This article was written by Oliver-James Topping, Solicitor in the Residential Property Litigation at Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of September 2020.