Is it the conveyancer or seller's fault that the ground rent was missed? | LawHive - Solicitors & Lawyers Online
Is it the conveyancer or seller's fault that the ground rent was missed?
I bought a flat and moved into it 6 months ago. Prior to this my conveyancer stated in the title report that no ground rent is due. However, a few months later I have received a bill for a yearly ground rent of £250 per year, doubling every 25 years (It's due to double again in 2028). I then checked the full leasehold agreement in greater detail and found that there is indeed a ground rent due on the property. I have complained to my conveyancer about this, and he said that it's the seller's fault as they had incorrectly filled out the leasehold information form. It is true that in the form completed by the seller, they wrote that no ground rent is due on the property. The question is: Is my conveyancer partly at fault due to them having missed the ground rent that was clearly stated in the leasehold agreement? Or is the seller at fault because they falsely stated that there was no ground rent in the leasehold information form? If my conveyancer was negligent, then I was planning on complaining to the Legal Ombudsman. If it's the fault of the seller for filling out the leasehold information form incorrectly, then would suing them even be financially worth it? Over the next 25 years I would be paying £12,100 in ground rent. This will also make the flat harder to sell down the line, as the ground rent costs are doubling every 25 years. Some other information that may be helpful: * 125 year lease started in 2003 * Completion was in December 2021 * Property is England Many thanks in advance 🙏

Kenneth Melancon

19th October 2021



Top Answer
Is the property in London? If not then there is a upcoming problem when the ground rent doubles as it would then be over £250pa and essentially becomes an assured tenancy. This means you have far less rights as a leaseholder and will become near impossible to mortgage. Your conveyancer definitely sounds at fault here. Regardless of what the seller put on the leasehold information form they should have checked the lease. The fact they have totally missed this is seriously negligent. Do you have a mortgage? I'd imagine your mortgage company will be extremely unhappy as well as they would have potentially not offered a mortgage due to the ground rent issue. You need to raise an official complaint with the solicitor, ask for a copy of their complaints procedure. Perhaps seek some legal advice from another solicitor on how best to resolve this. NAL but potentially one way to resolve this would be wait till you've lived in the property for 2 years and then extend the lease which would set the ground rent to nil.

Vincenza Bergin

11th February 2022



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