Leaseholder suing legal firm over ‘ridiculous’ ground rent clause

A leaseholder is suing a legal company that represented her when she bought her apartment over a ‘ridiculous’ ground rent clause.

Carole Patterson said she was unaware that the ground rent for her one-bedroom flat in South London would double every five years.

As a result, her bill of £1,050 this year will rise to £4,200 a year by 2031 and will increase to more than £1m in 50 years’ time

Now the administrator is suing FBC Manby Bowdler – the firm that represented when she bought the apartment in 2011 – for negligence because they didn’t inform her of the clause.

Ms Patterson said that she only became aware of it in 2018 when the freehold was bought by MEA Real Estate Ltd. They offered to change the terms of the lease on the £170,000 apartment to a one-off payment of £100,000.

She told a newspaper: “It has been a very stressful situation. I first got the letter finding out about the clause when the freehold was sold on. I had no idea about it before. 

“The ground rent on Buckingham Palace wouldn't be as much as what I would be paying at the end of my lease.”

A spokesman from Osbornes Law, who is now representing Ms Patterson said: “Our client has been left in a horrendous position of not being able to sell her property while the ground rent doubles every five years.”

Solicitors representing FBC Manby Bowdler said the firm could not comment on specific cases due to client confidentiality. They added that they were and independent firm of solicitors that adheres to the Solicitors’ Professional Code of Conduct. 


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