TANT formed the long lease branch in 2014 as a result of the discovery of a punitive ground rent referred to as the Modern Ground Rent Review that lay hidden within the terms of many NT long leases. This ground rent review legally enabled the NT to review the original pepper corn ground rents and increase these to figures that lay little short of standard domestic rents.
Update 10/12/20: TANT National Trust Long Lease Letter
TANT along with a grouping of tenants referred to as the Killerton Group set about challenging the NT over the morality of its intended application of the MGR on the basis that the NT misled it’s tenants by positively directing them to a 50yr statutory extension the terms of which legally entitled the NT to review the ground rents. It did this by directing its tenants towards this form of statutory extension over and above the other form of extension when extensions were requested for on the basis that the statutory extension was premium free and therefore beneficial. What the Trust failed to do was to point out to its tenants that this form of extension legally entitled it to radically increase the ground rent at the start of the statutory term.
TANT along with the Killerton Group and a growing number of other tenant groupings set up a campaign to exert a moral pressure on the NT to withdraw it’s intentions to apply the MGR. This pressure was exerted by lobbying local MPs, the Charity Commission, the media and the Trustees of the NT. A presentation was made by TANT and the Killerton Group to the Trustees which provided these trustees with compelling evidence that the NT had indeed misled it’s tenants with regards to its policy of directing its tenants towards the 50yr extension on the basis that this form of extension was free and therefore beneficial.
The lobbying culminated in a face to face meeting with Sajid Javid, the then Secretary of State for Housing and Communities as a result of a number of his constituents being NT long lease tenants. Our TANT officer Mike Dennys was able to attend this meeting and along with the tenants a robust case was put forward to Sajid on the financial impact this ground rent review would have on his constituents and other NT long lease tenants. Shortly after this meeting the NT convened a meeting with TANT and the Killerton Group and during the course of this meeting officially declared its intentions to withdraw from MGR application which under the terms of a Charity Commission ex-gratia order would now be subject to a review according to the latest RPI figures.
This was a great victory for commen sense and the NT is now adopting a more compassionate approach as it actively works with its tenants to get the MGR clause written out of their leases. Further it is also repaying those tenants who had brought out the MGR and is contributing £1,000. 00 towards their legal fees to do this.
There is still work to do as current legislation still leaves NT tenants with no statutory rights to multiple lease extensions. The Law Commission has been set the task by the government to reform Leasehold law in general and due to further successful TANT and tenant lobbying has had its attention drawn to this lack of extension rights. In its latest publication the Law Commission has put several proposals forwards and The Select Committee has invited several NT tenants to attend round table discussions in which their views on these options can be put to the committee.
TANT is actively continuing to support its long lease tenants.