NEW home owners in Winnington Village who have been 'cheated out' of buying their leasehold are demanding action from property developer David Wilson Homes.

When Emily Martin agreed to buy her terraced house on Brassey Grange from David Wilson Homes she was told she would also be able to buy the property’s freehold from David Wilson Homes for just £3,410 – the equivalent of 22 years’ ground rent.

But just one day before the sale went through, and with her own house in a chain, her solicitor contacted her to inform her that that the freehold had in fact already been sold months earlier to Landmark Collections.

Now Emily says she will have to wait two years before she can buy the freehold from the new owners at a cost of 50 years’ land rental – £7,750 – plus legal costs for herself and Landmark Collections.

She said: “I called the sales office who seemed surprised at the news, and later called back to advise they were selling all of the land on to Aviva, but that I could purchase the freehold within two years from them for a reasonable cost.

“Fast forward to now and my freehold is not with Aviva, it’s with Landmark Collections, the purchase costs are two to three times what I was quoted and I cannot buy the lease for another two years.

“I feel cheated as none of this aligns with what I was told at the point of sale, and I have since found out that others had been advised of the freehold sale to Aviva six months earlier – so why was I ever even offered the sale of the land from David Wilson Homes?

The government announced plans in July to ban leasehold on future new-build homes, and cut ground rents on new flats to as low as zero.

A spokesman for David Wilson Homes said: “As a housebuilder, in line with standard industry practice it is not our practice to retain freeholds. The houses at Winnington Village were advertised to customers as being for sale on a leasehold basis and all of our customers have access to independent legal advice throughout the purchase process.

“As Ms Martin makes clear, she was made aware by her solicitor that Landmark Collections owned her freehold before she purchased the property.

“Through the Leasehold Reform Act 1967, leaseholders have a right to buy their leasehold after two years, at a fair market value fixed ultimately by an independent tribunal should this prove necessary.”

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