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THE National Trust has reportedly raised ground rents by up to 10,000 per cent as hundreds of loyal tenants in leasehold properties face “immense suffering” as the charity looks to make “a quick buck”.
00:39, Fri, Aug 25, 2017 | UPDATED: 01:37, Fri, Aug 25, 2017
In a statement, the trust said they are “working with them [tenants] to find a fair solution”, with a reduction of 50 per cent in “the relevant cases”.They added: “We know that some leaseholders feel they have been misled as to the impact of modern ground rent and we take those concerns very seriously. If we are satisfied that that has happened then we will consider foregoing modern ground rent altogether, which we have already done in one case.”
The National Trust have been accused of dramatic ground rent rises for tenants
In one case, an 87–year–old resident claims he was told his payments will go up from £148 to £15,000 per year, prompting the Tenants’ Association of the National Trust to demand an inquiry.The Tenants’ Association said: “Rather than exploit vulnerable parties to appalling commercial opportunism to make a quick — and very large — buck, the expectation is that in line with the Charity Commission order, a standard of compassion is set.
“We call for an inquiry, a governance review of the National Trust and the immediate resignation of all those that allowed this sorry debacle to take place.”
The MP said that he was shocked by the charity’s behaviour.
He added: “While the trust needs to be efficient it is a charity with millions of members who trust it.
“There is no way this underhand behaviour or extortionate increases in rent can be justified.”On the National Trust website “under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967” the charity claims that “modern Ground Rent provisions are relevant to your lease then these provisions at certain points in time cause the rent to increase – potentially by a significant amount”.
“It should focus on its pastoral role for its tenants, who give a huge amount back as stewards of historic buildings.
The organisation has 5,000 homes on its land, which house more than 10,000 people, most of which are rented out at a monthly rate, but some were bought up front by tenants as leaseholds, normally of 49 years with a nominal ground rent.
The National Trust said they would work to find a fair solution
Around 300 people are likely to be hit by the changes.It follows an embarrassing U-turn for the National Trust over their insistence that volunteers wear rainbow sexual equality symbols.
In a sudden change of heart, executives decided that it is now “optional and a personal decision” for staff at Felbrigg Hall stately home in Norfolk to decide whether to wear the badge.
More than 70 volunteers revolted over the issue with scores quitting because they objected at being forced to wear the LGBTQ badges to mark the 50th anniversary of the partial discrimination of homosexuality.
They had been told that they could only perform front line duties if they wore a badge, prompting a storm of protest with some threatening to cancel membership.