Ground rent school boy error?

by Readers Question

13:27 PM, 29th March 2018
About 2 years ago

Ground rent school boy error?

Make Text Bigger
Ground rent school boy error?

Hi All, Ive made a bit of a school boy error here.

I have a small portfolio, and my last purchase around 4 years ago was a flat in South London had the following clause for the ground rent: Ground Rent £250 Reviewed every 10 years by a factor of 2 or by RPI whichever the greater. Term 99 years

At the time my solicitor did clearly point this out, however I decided due to the price and location I would still make the purchase. I must admit I look back now and do have some regret and am wondering what I should do as its beginning to concern me.

Please don’t answer with “well you should not have purchased” as I’m already down the line with this”; any thoughts/advice from experienced landlords would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you




8:08 AM, 24th April 2018
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Rizzo at 23/04/2018 - 23:00
Hi Rizzo. I have got a busy few days ahead but will produce the figures for you before the weekend. As you probably realise you are in a difficult situation, and it must be a worrying time for you. Your ground rent is already above the 0.1% of your property value that some lenders regard as a reasonable maximum. You will realise that for the last 5 years of the lease starting in 2126 the ground rent will be £307,200 p.a. Even in about 40 years time in 2056 the ground rent will be £2,400 p.a. Although I'm not an expert, I think if you asked a local estate agent and told them about the lease terms, then they would tell you that your property was virtually unsaleable. You might get a cash buyer interested at a very low price but a cash buyer would only be thinking of the rent he could recover before the ground rent gets too high and probably would then just let the property revert back to the freeholder. (he forfeits the lease). I don't know when you bought the property but did you solicitor warn you explicitly about the doubling ground rent terms? If not you could make a claim against them on the grounds of professional negligence. If you search the internet you will find some legal firms taking on these cases on a 'no win - no fee' basis. I will have the figures for you by the end of the week but I know now that it will not be good news for you.


8:15 AM, 26th April 2018
About 2 years ago

Hi Rizzo – as promised here are the figures. Firstly the figure for the reversion, being the compensation for the landlord having to wait to get the property back, is only £283. The biggest part of the premium is to compensate the landlord for the loss of ground rent income if you extended the lease by 90 years and got a peppercorn rent. (A Statutory Lease Extension). I have assumed a starting valuation date of 1st May 2018 and therefore 12.33 years of the lease have expired at that date.
The income streams for the landlord are:

£150 for the next 7.67 years
£300 for the next 10 years but delayed 7.67 years
£600 for the next 10 years but delayed 17.67 years
£1,200 for the next 10 years but delayed 27.67 years
£2,400 for the next 10 years but delayed 37.67 years
£4,800 for the next 10 years but delayed 47.67 years
£9,600 for the next 10 years but delayed 57.67 years
£19,200 for the next 10 years but delayed 67.67 years
£38,400 for the next 10 years but delayed 77.67 years
£76,800 for the next 10 years but delayed 87.67 years
£153,600 for the next 10 years but delayed 97.67 years
£307,200 for the last 5 years but delayed 107.67 years

The figures for the premiums at the different yield/capitalisation rates are:

5% : £55,360
6% : £27,742
7% : £15,257
8% : £9,245
9% : £6,137
10% : £4,407

So how best to advise you? With a property value of only around £70,000 it is not going to be worth your while spending a lot to improve the lease.
If it were me I would first get a couple of estate agents around on the pretext that you are thinking of selling. Be brutally honest with them and explain that although the lease is still a good length the ground rent doubles every 10 years reaching £300,000 per annum ground rent for the last 5 years of the lease. They will realise that the buyer’s solicitor will almost certainly pick up on this. Ask them what your chances are of selling? I think they will tell you that only cash buyers might be interested.
So far you will have spent nothing but just clarified your situation. I don’t really think it’s worth your while serving a S42 notice on the landlord for a Statutory lease extension. I think the very best you would get the premium down to is around £15,000 and then you need to add on another £4,000 - £5,000 in costs.
The other thing you can do of course is to do nothing for the next two years. The Law Commission is undertaking a major review of the leasehold system and should report in two years time. They may provide some practical help to leaseholders in your position. They may suggest, and the government may enforce legislation such as leaseholders have the right to extend their leases and pay zero ground rent for a premium say of just 20 x the present ground rent. In your case this would cost you £3,000.
Notice that I have used the word ‘may’ several times. It depends in how much you trust governments to do the right thing? However your landlord will probably also know about this leasehold review and may be more amenable to do a deal. You could approach your landlord directly and see if he is prepared to alter the lease to an indexed linked version. See if he will accept CPI linked rather than RPI linked which is usually up to 1% cheaper. (March 2018 CPI index 2.5%, RPI index 3.3%).You could offer the carrot of being prepared to accept a slightly higher starting ground rent than your present rent. This would give him an immediate uplift in his present income. He then may come back with a CPI/RPI offer with ground rent starting in the £250 to £350 range. This will still be high in relation to your property value but should still be affordable to most buyers. If he comes back with a reasonable figure and you can negotiate him down to £5,000 or less, including his legal fees, then I would take it unless you are a gambler. If you reach agreement with the freeholder then before proceeding further I would strongly recommend you engage an ALEP solicitor for you to check over and negotiate the terms of the new lease before you go ahead, to make sure no new ‘nasties’ are included in the new lease. It should not cost you more than £500 - £600.
If you have not got the money then I would think your present lenders will fall over themselves to lend you the money at reasonable terms. When your new lease is complete you will be providing them with valuable security for their loan rather than a property which is almost worthless. Good luck!


17:04 PM, 13th February 2020
About 2 months ago

Hi can anyone help me with calculating how much a statutory lease extension is likely to cost. Property details as follows:

Property price - £155,000
Lease - 125 years from 2016
Ground rent - £180 doubling every 25 years

The formula's are too complex for me to get my head around. I still have plenty of year's on the lease but just thinking ahead if I need to get rid of the ground rent issue when it comes to selling.



20:00 PM, 13th February 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by jcnw at 13/02/2020 - 17:04Hi jcnw
If you go back and look at my post dated 8th April 2018 there was a very similar post to yours with a similar length lease starting at £200 per annum and doubling every 25 years. Using these figures should give you a very good idea. Assuming the worst case of a 5% yield then a 90 year statutory lease extension could could you around a £6000 premium plus say about £4000 maximum to cover 2 lots of valuers fees plus your own plus the vendors legal costs. So about £10,000 in total. The cost will vary depending on interest/yield rates when you get around to applying for a lease extension.


6:23 AM, 14th February 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by at 13/02/2020 - 20:00
Great thank you :).....I was expecting much more as I've read horror stories of some people being quoted 50,000!! Madness! Thanks again for your help


16:38 PM, 14th February 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by jcnw at 14/02/2020 - 06:23
Yep mine's about £35k, on a flat currently worth £235k


16:42 PM, 14th February 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Gracie at 14/02/2020 - 16:38
Oh wow!! How come? What are the ground rent provisions?


16:48 PM, 14th February 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by jcnw at 14/02/2020 - 16:42
Currently £300, will double in only 33 years, however lease is only 55 years. I'm waiting & hoping for reform, to make the extension cheaper. May not work in my favour though.


16:59 PM, 14th February 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Gracie at 14/02/2020 - 16:48
Ahh yes, the cost is probably due to the remaining years left rather than the ground rent costs. It's awful that so many people are in this trap. Unfortunately buying a flat was the only way I could afford to get on the ladder. The law desperately needs changing!

1 8 9

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?



Free short term let accommodation for London's NHS workers

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More