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Residential lease extensions

Many of us own leasehold property, usually a flat, though some people may own leasehold houses. Whether this is your home or owned as an investment, it is important to keep an eye on your lease term. Lease terms are very important as they affect the value of the property.

Leases by their very nature are a diminishing asset, as your lease term reduces year by year. It is therefore important to protect your home or investment by extending the term of your lease. You can extend a lease at any time. Ideally, you would do this when your lease has around 90 years to run. While 90 years may sound like a long time, it isn’t in lease terms. When your lease gets to 80 years or less it becomes more expensive to extend so it’s always best to act earlier.

We can help you extend your lease

If you are a leaseholder then your freeholder may be willing to extend your lease informally assuming you can both agree terms between yourselves. If you can agree reasonable terms this can save you time and money in costs as it will be a quicker process. Doing this can be particularly helpful if you are looking to sell your flat and need to extend your lease quickly.

Not all freeholders, however, are willing or able to agree terms direct with leaseholders. If they can’t for whatever reason, yet you have owned the property for more than two years, it is likely that you have a legal right - under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 - to request a lease extension from your freeholder. You would be entitled to an additional 90 years on your lease term and your rent would become a ‘peppercorn rent’ (rent free). In return for this extension you will have to pay a premium to the freeholder.

There is a formal statutory process to follow which you start by serving a section 42 notice on the freeholder, setting out the terms you propose.

You will need a surveyor to carry out your valuation and advise and negotiate the premium for you. We work with the surveyor to agree the terms of the lease extension with your freeholder. If terms cannot be agreed a tribunal would determine the terms of the lease extension.

If you are a freeholder and are served with a lease extension notice it is important to act quickly as there are set timescales in the process that you must follow. We can guide you on these and how best to conduct proceedings.

At LCF Law our property lawyers handle numerous lease extensions all over the country and we have considerable experience of leasehold valuation tribunal hearings.

Our solicitors are members of the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP) who are committed to helping leaseholders understand and protect their property rights.

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It is important to follow the correct processes and observe the fixed timescales set out, and our solicitors are ready to help you. Click on Contact Us, use the Contact form above, or send a message direct to one of the team working in this area from their business cards below.