How to lease: will the new guide help homebuyers?
A new How to Lease guide for homebuyers, produced by the government, is out now. The leaflet follows a similar format to the How to Rent guide for tenants, explaining the ins and outs of leasehold in a clear, accessible way.
How many times have we all heard leaseholders who have run into problems with their freeholder or their lease, saying they didn?t understand the implications of buying a leasehold property? It happens all the time. Leasehold tenure is complicated and anything that can be done to make it easier to grasp, must be a step in the right direction.
The Institute of Residential Property Management points out today that under the Consumer Protection Regulations 2008, the government has the power to ensure that basic leasehold terms are included in estate agency sales information. The National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team has a consumer guide for potential buyers confirming that the main terms of the lease are ?material information? that ?would affect the transactional decision of the average consumer?. It stop short of saying the same to estate agents and the IRPM is lobbying government to ensure that buyers are given this information up front.
?This would mean that buyers would know what they are buying and mortgage valuers would be able to value the property on its true lease terms,? says the IRPM. The professional body is also working with lenders and surveyors to push for this transparency in the home sales process, with support from NAEA Propertymark. Sadly, to-date, the IRPM sees little improvement in the information that estate agents provide to buyers.
So will the How to Lease guide help? If it is to make any real impact, estate agents must be instructed to give the guide to ALL prospective leaseholders with the understanding that they take the time to read it. Ideally, they will talk buyers carefully through the key points. The guide is only worthwhile if they are able to discuss any issues they have with either their estate agent, their solicitor or both ? and receive properly informed responses to their questions.
Author : Mary-Anne Bowring
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