31 August 2021

The Harsh Reality of Shared Ownership. Natasha Rees comments in The Sunday Times

Head of Property Litigation, Natasha Rees, sat down with Melissa York of The Times to provide her comments on one of the risks of shared ownership; being able to easily extend a short lease term.

A short lease term should be something that a solicitor would point out to a buyer at the point of purchase but if this goes unchecked at this point it is likely to lead to issues for the shared-owner further on:

"Short leases should be flagged by conveyancing solicitors and mortgage lenders", says Natasha Rees. “They are retained to advise on the lease and title. I would have thought a good solicitor would have picked up on that.”

Unless shared owners have staircased up to 100 per cent equity they are excluded from the right to a formal lease extension and have to negotiate one informally with their housing provider. This leaves them open to exploitation and unfair terms, says Rees, such as rising ground rents and short leases. "They are made to pay for valuations and legal fees too."

The article also covers broader issues for a shared-owner; cladding bills, services charges and permission fees with links to resources to help.

Read the article in full here. You will need a subscription.

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