So we’ve had a fun start to the year. Early in 2012 we (hubby and I) brought a house (very grown up) aware that there were a number of snags with it. One of which being that it was a leasehold, so whilst we owned the property itself, the ground it was built on belonged to someone else.
Not a problem we said to ourselves, we’ll wait a few years whilst we make some inroads on the mortgage and then use some of the equity to buy the freehold, so that the ground will be ours as well. Nice and simple.
I won’t bore you with the details, but essentially the ground had been sold literally out from beneath us to a private investment firm intending to use the leases on our (and our neighbour’s) properties as a long term investment. Fair? I think not. Needless to say we’ve rallied round with the pitchforks and burning brands and gone to call out the monster. (Perfectly reasonable behaviour on this occasion I think.)
Gratifyingly, the strategy worked. And the builders felt compelled to offer us the option on our leases.
It’s not normally in my nature to point fingers, but on this occasion I feel there is merit in spreading the word. Taylor Wimpey are the developers who built our estate, and sold our lease out from underneath us. Out of character behaviour, I have to say, as aside from this they have been a pleasure to do business with. The investment company who brought up our leases was E&J Estates. A word of caution then, if you find yourself dealing with either of these. Business is business, I realise and understand. But I’m a firm believer you can do good business without a knife in your hand.