The Competition and Market Authority (CMA) first launched an investigation last year against four property developers who were concerned that they were using unfair contract terms and possibly selling rental apartments incorrectly. Now two of the companies – Countryside and Taylor Wimpey – have given written notice to ban the use of double basic rental conditions. The investigation against the other developers – Barratt Developments and Persimmon Homes – continues.
As part of the reorganization, Countryside and Taylor Wimpey are still allowed to charge basic rents, including those that rise in line with inflation – something the CMA claims is still investigating – but they must:
- Remove duplicate basic rental terms from all existing contracts.
- Agree not to use duplicate terms in future rental agreements.
It is unclear whether this change also applies to leases that have since been resold by home builders to management companies. We asked the CMA and will update this story when we know more. The two companies must now agree to sign formal commitments known as “Commitments” to remove the basic rental terms from their leases, or they will face trial.
The move comes after it was announced earlier this year that millions of homeowners in England will be given a new right to extend their lease for 990 years and not have to pay a basic rent, while extending a lease or buying property will also become cheaper for many under major new government reforms. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has described the “crippling” basic rents as “unfair”.