The CMA team looking into the housebuilding market have advised us that they welcome evidence from home buyers past present and future describing their specific stories. Please write in ASAP to have your evidence considered. The investigation is in to the way this market works and not focused on any particular company.
Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
We Suggest the Subject Line of: Evidence on Estate Charges
Attach relevant documents – small files if possible.
Remember someone has to read it and analyse the content so try to be concise.
You need to put in some basic details, your name and address, the name of the developer, management company and managing agent. When you bought into this, and how long you have been charged. Fake freehold or leasehold??
Tell them your story. You don’t need to use all of this – just what applies to your situation or is important to you.
Start with what you were told in the sales office.
Was your property described as freehold?
What were you told about the estate charge? Was it described as a service charge, or what?
Was it glossed over/minimised?
What did you know about it at the time of reservation?
Did you reserve your plot based on a sketchy (or no) description of the estate charge like “a small charge to cut the grass”?
Were you persuaded to use the builders recommended solicitor? If so how did they convince you?
Were you put under pressure (positive or negative) to exchange contracts quickly?
What did your solicitor/conveyancer tell you about the charges?
Did you know the full extent of the liability you were signing up to, or did you think it was just grass cutting?
If you have a rent charge, were you told this is a charge on the property, and that it could be repossessed if you defaulted on payment for any reason?
Were you given a detailed breakdown of what you would be paying for?
Did you know part or all of the estate was not going to be adopted by the council/water company?
Did you realise that you would be paying for the upkeep of public open space?
Did you understand that the management company/agent was not going to be accountable to you?
Did you realise the charges are uncapped and the figure you may have been given in the sales office was only a projection/estimate?
Did you know that you had no statutory rights like there are for leasehold service charges?
Do you have the option to take over the company when the estate is completed?
If not, do you have any choice in managing agent/contractor provision?
Have you had any difficulties gaining full control of your RMC?
Next would be how the estate is being managed and what problems you have had.
Do you get value for money?
Can you choose your managing agent?
Do they respond to complaints/queries?
Have you tried to make them accountable by with holding payment or suing them in small claims?
What did you do, and was it successful?
How did they respond?
Legal Framework/Option to self- manage
If you know what your set up is, can you describe it briefly – rent charge/chain of covenants/agreements with council under section 106 or section 38 (roads adoption)
Who owns the land? Who owns the rent charge?
If you have an option for self-management how is this working for you?
Are you a leaseholder or “fake freeholder”?
Then you could go on to describe how and when you found out the true picture and how this has affected you.
Has it affected the sale/value of your property? If so please describe.
Have there been any major unforeseen rises in estate charges since you bought your home? Please describe.
What have you suffered?
Financial loss? Can you quantify?
What would put it right for you?
Common hold ownership of estates?
Regulation of the current system??
You can download this article in Word to use as a template if you wish: