Huntingdon: Lease stops the sale of couple's home

RESIDENTS at some shared ownership properties in Huntingdon have been told they cannot sell their homes because a clause is missing from the lease. Sarah Doherty, 26, told The Hunts Post that she had been trying to sell her property in Ashton Gardens fo

RESIDENTS at some shared ownership properties in Huntingdon have been told they cannot sell their homes because a clause is missing from the lease.

Sarah Doherty, 26, told The Hunts Post that she had been trying to sell her property in Ashton Gardens for more than a year, but said the lease with social landlord, the Luminus Group, has made it virtually impossible.

She said that the mortgagee protection clause (MPC) is missing and that is putting off mortgage lenders and potential buyers.

The clause is designed to provide added protection to a mortgage lender should there be a default on a mortgage and they have to take possession of a property. Some of the financial risk is transferred to the housing authority which owns part of the property.

Both the Homes & Communities Agency and the Council of Mortgage Lenders told The Hunts Post that the MPC is a fundamental clause required by virtually all mortgage lenders.

Mrs Doherty said she lost a buyer in November who pulled out after discovering the clause was missing.

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She is six months pregnant and said the stress of the situation has resulted in her taking time off work.

"We've been told the property is unmortgageable and Luminus has refused to change the lease," she said.

Mrs Doherty and husband, John, 28, have been allowed by Luminus to rent out the property for 12 months, giving them time to decide what to do with the home. They have been advised to find a cash buyer or buy Luminus' share of the property and then sell it freehold.

But they already have a second mortgage on a home in Stukeley which they bought when they believed it was possible to sell their Huntingdon home.

Luminus has told Mrs Doherty that as the lease was created in 1988, there is no requirement for the MPC to be added.

In a letter, Luminus said: "The addition of a mortgagee protection clause to the lease as you request would expose Luminus to an unacceptable financial liability in that we would be responsible to make up the short fall in mortgage interest payments of any future shared owner of the property to their mortgage provider."

Luminus told The Hunts Post it was "sympathetic towards Mrs Doherty and had been advising her to help resolve the situation".

Another resident of a shared ownership property in Ashton Gardens, who wanted to remain anonymous and is in the same situation, described it as a "housing crisis". He said the situation had taken him to the "brink of repossession".

"My property has been going through a sale since September 2009 but the process has stalled and is unlikely to go through due to the missing clause. I'm stuck with this house.

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