Take a hike: National Trust in ground rent storm

The National Trust has found itself in the middle of a storm over ground rents, after it was revealed that some of its tenants face eye-watering hikes of “up to 10,000%”.

The majority of those living on National Trust land pay a monthly sum to the conservation charity, but a number who bought their homes on “long” leases – originally lasting 21 years or more – have been caught out by a “higher, modern ground rent” clause, which can kick in when extending the term by another 50 years under the Leasehold Reform Act.

According to the Times, one 87-year old resident was told his payments would go from £148 per year to £15,000…

The Trust has hit back, blaming poor advice from solicitors and valuers at the time of purchase, but says it is working with those affected – thought to be around 300 households, mainly in the South West – to “find a fair solution”.

A statement pledged to “share the financial impact” and reduce the modern ground rents by 50%, or forgo them altogether in cases where leaseholders were deemed to have been “misled”, adding: “We are very aware of how distressing it has been for some of our tenants who discovered they would have to pay much more to live in their homes and we are continuing to work with them and the tenant representatives to reach an agreement.”