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Thomas , Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 7375
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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We live at Grove Place Retirement Village. For us it is a prison.

Resolved Question:

We live at Grove Place Retirement Village. For us it is a prison. Simple solution, sell and buy a bungalow. This we are in process of attempting to do. To sell invokes a penalty of 20% of the selling price. In concrete terms this is circa £80,000. Our ages are 74 and 76.

This is, apparently, a legal charge and when we signed the lease the assumption we had was we would die here so to sign such a contract was not an issue. Now it is a major infringement of our freedom and I fear for our mental health. Without such a penalty we could sell at a lower price or have funds to aid independent living.

We would be grateful for advice in this matter.

Barry and Freda Johnson
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.

Have you looked at the landlord's covenants in the Lease to see if they have breached any of their covenants?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I do not believe they have breached any covenants

Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.

Is this a leasehold property or freehold?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

This a leasehold property.

Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for your patience.

There’s quite a lot of controversy on these fees. They are called “exit fees” the OFT has been investigating in the recent past to establish whether such fees are unfair.

They have obtained undertakings from a number of retirement homes of this type to not charge such fees in new leases and also not to enforce unfair fees on existing leases.

If the fee is 20% in your lease then this is one of highest that I have heard about.

I would say that there is little point in marketing the property until you have reached an agreement with the retirement home as to whether they will enforce the charge and, if so, at what level.

I would start by contacting the OFT and mentioned the exit fee and the identity of the retirement home and ask if they can refer you to any specific literature on their dealings with them.

I would then write a complaint letter to the retirement home including any results of investigation with the OFT. Request that they do not charge the fee or otherwise request that you enter negotiations on the level of fee. Also check your lease to see definitively whether or not they have breached any terms. If they have include these breaches in your letter.

If you are not able to agree as a result of your complain letter then I would suggest seeing a local solicitor about formalising the dispute by writing to them initially threatening litigation if they don’t comply.

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Kind regards,

Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 7375
Experience: BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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