Residential Leasehold Property : Extending Your Lease

Extending Your Lease

Residential leasehold solicitors dealing with lease extensions in Dorset

Most owners of residential leasehold property have a statutory right to a lease extension. Mortgage companies are often reluctant to grant mortgages to properties with fewer than 75 years left on the lease, making them hard to sell.

The Aim

  • 90 additional years added on to the current un-expired term of your lease.
  • A peppercorn ground rent.

It is important to note that, subject to some very rare exceptions, these are the only two amendments to the lease that you would be entitled to under the statutory regime.

Therefore. if you are aware of other defects in your lease that might affect you being able to market your property, these will not automatically be rectified. It may be possible to negotiate other amendments at the same time as your statutory lease extension but you may be charged more money for these.

Eligibility for leasehold extension

In most cases, the only requirement to be fulfilled is that you have owned the property for a period of two years.

Procedure

  1. A Notice of Claim is served. This Notice outlines your intention to compulsorily purchase a lease extension and it makes an offer as to the price you are willing to pay. It also specifies a date by which you should receive a response.
  2. You then may receive a Notice asking you to prove that you have owned your property for the minimum two-year period. In addition, you may receive a Notice requesting that a deposit of 10% of your offer figure is paid within a required period of time.
  3. You would expect the landlord to instruct a valuer at this stage. It is likely that the landlord's valuer will want to inspect your flat in order to calculate the value of the lease extension in the same way that your valuer will have done this for you.
  4. Following this, you would expect to receive a Notice in Reply which has to be by the date that has been specified in your Notice but the legislation states that this date has to be at least a period of two months from when you served your Notice. The Notice in Reply will either admit or deny your right to purchase a lease extension. If the Notice admits your right - which is usually the case - your offer figure will either be accepted or alternatively there will be a counter proposed price. Generally there will be a counter proposed price. Your valuer will advise you concerning the likely sum to expect within the Notice in Reply.
  5. After the Notice in Reply has been received, the legislation provides for a period of time for negotiation. The valuers will get together and seek to agree a price. Negotiations are usually a minimum of two months although can extend to a period of six months after the Notice in Reply has been received.
  6. If: 

(a.) the price is agreed during this period of time then the wording of your new lease and the question of professional costs will be agreed. Provided these are agreeable, your new lease will be registered at the Land Registry.

(b.) All of the aspects of your lease extension cannot be agreed during this period of time then sometimes it may be necessary to make an application to an independent Tribunal to make the decision for the parties. This Tribunal is an expert body specialising in this and other similar matters. This application must be made before the expiry of the six-month period after the Notice in Reply, otherwise the Notice you served would be considered withdrawn and you would have to start the process afresh. This would of course have cost implications for you.

About 98% of lease extension cases settle by negotiation.

Executors

If you are the executor of an estate then you have the right to apply for a statutory lease extension as long as it is done within two years from the date of the Grant of Probate.

This can be a useful tool for an executor who is under a duty to maximise the value of the estate he is administering. An executor can undertake the lease extension process which generally one would expect to increase the value of the flat and as a result benefit the estate that is being administered.

For a free initial chat with one of our expert residential leasehold property solicitors to discuss how we can help you, please contact us now.

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