UK competition watchdog closes leasehold investigation into Barratt without action
An investigation into the alleged mis-selling of leaseholds by Barratt Homes has been closed by the UK competition watchdog after it found “insufficient” evidence against the housebuilder.
Four of the UK’s biggest housebuilders came under scrutiny from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) as it probed the leasehold housing market. Many buyers in England had claimed their leaseholds were sold with onerous terms on ground rents that left them struggling to sell or mortgage their homes.
Cases were opened against four developers in 2020. Countryside Properties, Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon had all settled, but Barratt maintained it had never sold any leasehold properties with doubling ground rents.
In December, Taylor Wimpey agreed to scrap terms from leasehold contracts which caused ground rents to double in price every decade.
And 15 more businesses committed to removing the unfair terms in March, freeing thousands more leaseholders from spiralling ground rents which trapped them in unsellable homes, the CMA said. But the watchdog has closed the case against Barratt Homes and will not be pursuing any legal action.
The CMA said: “Following careful scrutiny of the evidence gathered, the CMA concluded it was insufficient to support a clear legal case for the CMA to secure collective redress for Barratt leaseholders under its consumer law powers.”
In a statement, Barratt said it was “pleased” that the CMA had closed its investigation.
“Barratt is committed to putting its customers first and has been awarded a 5 Star rating by its customers for 13 successive years, more than any other major housebuilder,” it added.