Whether a new flat owner is liable for previously unpaid ground rent is a question that our property managers are asked from time to time. The simple answer is ‘yes’. But it’s a bit more complicated than that. Buyers are liable for any ground rent arrears that were built up before they bought their home if the landlord has either: • issued a demand and has not been paid; or • arrears remain unpaid because it has not yet issued a demand. This may seem unfair. After all, buying a flat comes with enough expenses without having to pay off someone else’s debts. But as the law stands, the freeholder is within their rights to chase you for payment. This is because even though you did not build up the arrears, the landlord can take action for possession of the flat for non-payment of ground rent.
This is known as forfeiture. The way around this problem is to ensure that your conveyancing solicitor is doing his or her job properly. Prior to purchase, the seller’s solicitor should be asked to pass on any relevant financial or lease-related information. Unfortunately, there is no legal obligation to provide this, so it must be actively followed up.
As with all matters relating to buying a leasehold property, forewarned is forearmed. So it pays to know as much about your rights and obligations as a leaseholder as you can before you complete on your new home. There are some useful guides online that are well worth reading if you’re buying a flat or a leasehold house, so check out the Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE), Propertymark or the Government website at .Gov.UK for more information. We also have a selection of E-books on our website that will give you additional information on lease extensions, leasehold enfranchisement and the right to manage. These topics are all important for you to get to grips with as a new leaseholder. If you have any further questions, our knowledgeable team is here to help. You can call us or ask us a question via a web chat on our website.
Mary-Anne Bowring FIRPM FRICS FARLA FCABE Founder/Head of Asset Management
Strategic partnerships, holistic delivery/ opportunities, growth, value engineering, thought leadership
Ian Barber MD BTR Mobilisation & Leasing
Runs HQ & site lease-up teams. Drives rent pricing, mobilisation, marketing, happy residents!
Jon Curtis MRICS Head of Building Engineering
Chartered Building Surveyor. Lectures on EWS1 & building safety. Runs CapEx programmes.
Kate Robinson MIRPM MD Blocks/FM Management (London Region)
Master plan setup, ops and staffing and resident engagement. ISO45001 champion.
Lee Harle Partner Ringley Law
Plot conveyancing. Debt litigation. Group Company Secretary.
Anthony Kingdon MIRPM AssocRICS MD Blocks/FM Management (North Region)
Stakeholder engagement. Mixed tenure specialist. Budget management. Plant audit, PPM compliance.
Chris Georgalis MRICS Head of Commercial Valuation
Chartered Valuer. Rental valuations: retail, leisure. IRR modelling and valuations for secured lending. Compulsory purchase & rent reviews
Nichola Pughe MRICS Head of Residential Valuation
Chartered Valuer. Rental development & mixed use valuations, IRR modelling. Leasehold enfranchisement specialist
Libby Chen MSc Compliance Manager
Operational Plant & Equipment strategy PPM Compliance lead, Asset tagging Client major projects
Dipesh Parekh Director PlanetRent
Customer centric, vertically integrated PropTech/fin-tech solutions.
Leana Aristodemou MIRPM MARLA AssocRICS Strategic lead: ESG & Asset Business Plan delivery
Financial modelling, valuation analyst to support underwriting & fund reporting.
Natalie Birmingham Helpdesk Support Manager
Trainer & Helpdesk Manager: people, systems,contractors. ISO45001 supply chain accreditation.
Steve Norman Planning Director
Land due diligence (opportunities & constraints) Has contributed to a number of award winning schemes.