Who qualifies for a lease extension?
To qualify for an extended lease, a leaseholder must have owned their lease for at least 2 years and that lease must have been originally for a period of 21 years or more.
I haven’t owned my lease for 2 years; can I still qualify for an extension?
Normally, no – but there is a way around this if you are in the process of buying a flat. If the seller has owned the flat for at least 2 years, you can get them to transfer across (assign) their rights to an extension as part of the sale arrangement. This can, however, be a complicated process and usually involves an increase in the purchase price. Specialist legal advice is a must on this one!
I’ve never actually lived in my flat – can I apply?
Can I buy a part of the freehold interest instead of extending my lease?
Other than enfranchisement, there is no legal method of buying a section of a freehold. Sometimes a landlord will offer to sell a section of the freehold interest along with a leasehold extension, but this is somewhat rare. In these cases it is likely that the landlord will expect to take an additional fee for this. Click here for more information on collective enfranchisement as an alternative to leasehold extension.
What are the first steps in extending a lease?
First you must check that you qualify for an extended lease – if you’re not sure, speak to one of our specialist solicitors.
Once you know you have the legal right to apply for an extension then your solicitor will put you in contact with the right specialist surveyor to get a valuation on the lease.
How long will the whole process take?
This all depends on what the freeholder’s response is to your extension request. If after you receive your valuation you begin informal negotiations with the landlord and they are willing, then the whole process can only take a few weeks.
However, if your landlord disagrees with the valuation or has another substantial reason to oppose the extended lease then they have 2 months from the date that you served the initial notice to get another valuation and give you a response. This response is called a counter-notice and from this point both parties have a further 2 months to negotiate the terms of the extension. Individual negotiations can take place between surveyors and they can reach their own arrangement over the price. You must be aware that this process may incur further fees. In total the whole procedure can take a minimum of 6 months.
Some cases that cannot reach agreement or are particularly complicated will end up in a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal, which once again will extend the length of time taken to complete the whole process
How long will my lease extension be for?
Under the Leasehold Refom, Housing & Urban Development Act 1993 you are entitled to extend your lease by an additional 90 years on top of the unexpired term. However it may be possible to negotiate a longer extended lease with your landlord.
Interested in an extended lease? Contact us today
For FREE initial phone advice about extending a lease:
- call us free on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 or
- email us using the contact form below