A flat with a long lease is a valuable asset. However, as the lease gets shorter, it becomes less valuable. When the time remaining on the lease falls below 80 years many mortgage lenders will refuse to grant a mortgage on the property and this has a huge effect on the property value and saleability.
Residential leaseholders have the right to protect the value of their asset by extending their lease or buying the freehold of their building collectively with their neighbours via enfranchisement.
We have a team of experienced professionals who specialise in helping people facing problems with the lease of their flat. We are happy to offer advice on the law, the procedure and we can put you in contact with a specialist valuer to establish how much your lease extension is likely to cost.
Free initial appointment
We offer all new clients a free initial chat with one of our bright lease extension experts. A free initial chat with one of our bright experts lasts around 30 minutes and usually takes place over a cup of tea or coffee, either at our Christchurch or Ringwood offices.
At present, most appointments will take place over the phone or by video link.
Where a face-to-face meeting is necessary, we have put the required safety measures in place.
How we can help
Our residential leasehold experts include Niki Adkins and Anne Albritton who have a wealth of experience handling lease extensions on behalf of individuals across Dorset and South West England, including Christchurch and Ringwood (where our offices are based), Bournemouth, Poole and the New Forest.
We can help with:
- Extending the lease of an individual flat
- Group applications for lease extensions in a block of flats
- Buying the freehold, known as enfranchisement
Our lease extension solicitors’ expertise
Our lease extensions specialists can help with all matters related to extending your lease and your leasehold rights, including:
- Statutory lease extensions
- Voluntary lease extensions
- Whether to extend the lease or enfranchise
- Resolving lease extensions disputes
For our other leasehold services, see:
Statutory lease extensions
Some leaseholders have a legal entitlement to extend their lease after two years. If you own a flat, the entitlement is an addition of 90 to the existing term.
If you own a house, you can add 50 years. Statutory lease extension also allows you to reduce your ground rent to a ‘peppercorn’ which is zero financial value.
Our lease extension lawyers can provide advice on your legal entitlement to extend your lease and handle the legal aspects of the process on your behalf, including serving the correct notices on your landlord, conducting negotiations to reach an agreement about the extension and completing all the necessary legal documentation.
Voluntary lease extensions
It is possible to approach your landlord directly to negotiate a lease extension rather than using the statutory method. This process can be faster and may also allow you to extend the lease by as many years as you want (rather than sticking to the prescribed 90 or 50 years).
You also do not have to wait until you have owned the property for two years before commencing negotiations. However, there is no requirement on the landlord to drop the ground rent to a peppercorn so careful negotiations are essential to safeguard your interests.
We can assist with voluntary lease extensions, negotiating ruthlessly on your behalf to secure the best possible deal, as well as handling all the legal documentation.
Whether to extend the lease or enfranchise
Our leasehold solicitors can advise on the benefits and challenges of either extending your lease or buying the freehold (enfranchising).
In certain cases, such as where you are a qualifying tenant of a leasehold house, you may be legally entitled to purchase the freehold, and this may be more beneficial than extending the lease.
We will talk you through this complex area of law with clear language, so you can make informed, confident decisions about how to move forwards.
Resolving lease extension disputes
We can help you resolve property disputes involving lease extensions. We understand that becoming involved in a dispute can be frustrating and stressful, and will take all possible steps to help you resolve the matter as quickly, amicably and cost-effectively as possible.
In most cases, we are able to help our clients find positive solutions out-of-court. However, we also have experience representing clients in court proceedings, including at the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).
Ask us at Frettens
How do I know if my property is leasehold?
If you own a house or flat that has a lease, then it is likely to be a leasehold property. You should have received a lease document from your conveyancer when you bought the property. You may also pay ground rent and service charges to a landlord.
If you are not sure whether your property is leasehold, you can find out by asking the Land Registry for a copy of the title. So long as the land is registered, they will have an entry for your property that will say whether it is leasehold. For help with this, please get in touch.
Should I extend my lease?
As leases decrease in term, they also decrease in value. Once as lease falls below 80 years, it can be incredibly hard to sell or remortgage.
It also tends to become more expensive to extend your lease as it gets shorter. So, it is worth considering whether to extend your lease to improve its value and saleability, even if you are not approaching the 80 years mark.
How much will my lease extension cost?
Only a qualified surveyor who specialises in lease extensions can provide an accurate valuation of how much your lease extension should cost.
The lease extension cost will depend on several factors, including the property’s current value, the length of the lease, the property’s ‘marriage value’, and the results of negotiations with the landlord.
What is marriage value?
Marriage value reflects the increase in the property’s value after completion of the lease extension. Marriage value must be calculated and shared equally between the landlord and leaseholder.
Under recent leasehold reforms, the requirement to divide the marriage value between the landlord and leaseholder is due to be removed from leasehold extension law.
How will the leasehold reforms affect me?
In January 2021, the government confirmed that it would significantly reform the leasehold sector, giving millions of leaseholders a new right to extend their lease by 990 years. Currently, there is no indication of when these reforms will come into effect.
You can read more about the proposed leasehold reforms here.
Get in touch with our lease extension solicitors
Our bright team of specialists are experienced in dealing with the lease extension process from start to finish.
You may also find these articles on residential leases of interest:
- Is now a good time to extend my lease?
- How to take control of management of your block of flats
- Buying a flat with a short lease
- Selling a flat with a short lease
- Do I need to extend my lease if I own a share of the freehold?
- Right to manage vs enfranchisement
- What is right to manage and how does it work?
- What are the options for me to extend my lease?