Information for people selling ground rents

 
If you have ground rents for sale, why sell to us?


If you have ground rents for sale the main advantage in selling ground rents to us is that we cut down the hassle.  We have in-house solicitors which means that we can carry out much of the legal spadework ourselves.  And, of course, you save on your legal fees, which could otherwise swallow up part of your sales proceeds – a large part in the case of smaller value portfolios. 

In fact, many ground rent investors who have sold their portfolios to us in the past have handled the transaction themselves without employing solicitors.  We will try as far as possible to conduct our legal enquiries in a vendor friendly manner, but obviously we can never act on your behalf.  If you do need to instruct solicitors, you will be responsible for their fees.

Because we have in-house solicitors and because ground rent investment is our core business, we can turn transactions round quickly.  If you are selling ground rents on houses and your interests are registered at the Land Registry, we would expect to complete within 4 weeks of tying up the deal. 

Ground rents on flats will usually take longer if Section 5 notices (which we can prepare) have to be served on the lessees to give them the right of first refusal; this statutory process takes at least 2 months, but even then we would hope to complete as soon as the Section 5 notices expire. (If you are developing flats but have not yet granted any leases, please contact us for information on how the requirement to serve Section 5 notices can be avoided.) Obviously, any timescale which we give you for completing a deal will depend on how quickly you can provide us with documentation.

Our expertise

Another advantage in selling your ground rent investment to us is that you tap into our expertise.  We have been buying ground rents since 1986, so we have an awful lot of experience to call upon if we are faced with obstacles such as a defective title or missing documentation.  We pride ourselves on having a pragmatic approach with a view to completing the deal.

Valuation

We regret that we cannot give you a formula for pricing your ground rent investment.  Each portfolio of ground rents for sale is different with many factors which can affect price.

One trend which has emerged recently is the market setting a premium on advantageous rent review provisions contained in the leases, especially those reviews involving an increase in line with inflation at 5 or 10 yearly intervals.

What we buy

We are specialists in the market.  We are keen to expand our current portfolio of some 55,000 separate ground rent / rentcharge interests.  We have funds available and are looking to acquire almost any type of ground rent portfolio: –

  • freehold or leasehold
  • commercial or residential (houses or flats)
  • lot size immaterial i.e. can be very small (e.g. below £100) or very large (e.g. up to £10m)
  • registered or unregistered titles
  • rent charges (first or second)

To give an idea of the scale of our operation, please see a small selection of our ground rent investment case studies.

What to do next

If you have ground rents for sale, please get in touch with us without any obligation on either side.  Please ring one of our solicitors to discuss your ground rent investment – Tim James on 01792 315489 or James McCarry on 01792 315476. Alternatively, please e-mail them on tjames@comptongroup.com or jamesmccarry@comptongroup.com. If you would like us to quote a purchase price for your ground rent portfolio, it would help if you could let us have brief details of the portfolio (i.e. rent per annum, number / type of properties, length of lease and location).

Flats – avoiding Section 5

With the growth in the number of flats being developed, an increasing number of developers are having to consider how to deal with the freehold reversions, following the grant of leases of the individual flats.

The new alternative tenure of “commonhold” is proving slow to catch on.  The tried and tested 99 or 125 year lease is still the preferred way of developing blocks of flats.  The major difficulty with selling flats on a leasehold basis is that, when a developer wants to dispose of the freehold after the flats have been sold, the freehold must first be offered to the lessees in accordance with Section 5 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1987.  This involves a cumbersome process of serving notices and then waiting for a statutory period of two months for the lessees’ response.  Added to all this is the draconian sanction of a criminal offence if the statutory procedure is not strictly adhered to. 

However, there is a way to avoid the need for Section 5 notices – by entering into an advance purchase agreement.Provided the advance purchase agreement is concluded before any of the individual residential units are sold, then no offence is committed under the 1987 Act. This is because at the point in time the advance purchase agreement is concluded, there are no qualifying lessees who can be served with a Section 5 notice.

The basis of the advance purchase agreement is usually that a contract is entered into between the developer of the site and the prospective purchaser of the freehold reversion before any of the residential units are sold and under the terms of that contract the developer retains the power to sell the residential units (and generally to carry out the development). Once the last of the residential units has been sold, the developer serves a completion notice under the advance purchase agreement and completion of the sale of the freehold reversion takes place 21 or 28 days later.

Also, since all sorts of things can change or go wrong in the course of a development, it is prudent to include in an advance purchase agreement a long stop provision to the effect that, if the agreement is not performed within, say, three years, then either party can terminate it. We have acquired ground rent portfolios from a number of the country’s leading house builders and have concluded many advance purchase agreements for blocks of flats on new developments.

If you are interested in disposing of new flats under an advance purchase agreement, we can send you a specimen agreement.

Flats – Section 5 notices

If you have already sold the flats, it will be necessary to serve Section 5 notices on the qualifying lessees. We can prepare the notices for you to send out. The notices offer the lessees the right of pre emption i.e. they can buy the freehold on the same terms. You have to allow the lessees a period of two months before the sale of the freehold to us goes ahead. If a majority of the qualifying lessees elects to buy, you have to sell to them on the same terms as you would have sold to us. It is unusual for lessees to accept, especially in the case of larger, more modern blocks.

Contact us
James McCarry
Post

Compton Group

PO Box 425

Swansea

SA6 8YH

Head Office

45-51 Wychtree St
Morriston
Swansea
SA6 8EX