Law Firm Helping Clients Extending Leases Nationwide
If you are thinking about a lease extension, there are three criteria which you have to satisfy. If you cannot tick each one of the three boxes, you will not be able to extend your lease. It’s therefore very important to understand the rules about eligibility before you start the legal process. And that’s why you need a specialist law firm for your lease extension
Looking For a Law Firm To Help You With Extending Your Lease? Got a Burning Question? Call Our Specialists On FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 For FREE Initial Phone Advice.
The criteria for being eligible to extend your lease are:
1. Your lease is residential, not commercial. Leases on commercial property can’t be extended, so you can only extend your lease if you are living in a residential leasehold property.
2. The original lease was for more than 21 years. This kind of lease is commonly referred to as long leasehold in recent years, most long leases are originally granted for either 99 or more commonly these days, 125 years.
However, if your lease was originally granted for less than 21 years, then you simply don’t have the legal right to extend it. Unless you’re a weekly or monthly tenant, renting rather than owning a lease, it is very unlikely that your lease was granted for such a short period – but when you are thinking about extending your lease you should double check to make absolutely sure.
3. You must have owned the lease for at least 2 years. In order to extend your lease, you don’t need to have lived in the property for 2 years, but you must have owned the lease. This means that if you own a leasehold property and rent it out, you are still eligible to extend the lease even if you have never actually lived in it yourself.
Are there any exceptions to this 2 year ownership rule?
Yes, there are broadly two exceptions.
1. So, for example, if you’re buying a flat, then, provided that the seller has owned that flat for at least two years themselves, they can apply for lease extension and then assign the benefit of that application to you on completion of the sale of the flat – so you don’t need to wait two years, but can crack on with extending your lease as soon as you buy the property.
2. A similar exemption works for probate .If the deceased person owned the property for two years, and the property has been left as part of their estate, then again, subject to certain restrictions, the executors can broadly apply for a lease extension without having to wait for the two-year ownership period to expire.
Properties which are not eligible for lease extension
If one or more of the above criteria does not apply, then your property will be automatically barred from leasehold extension. Apart from the criteria discussed above, there are some other rare cases when a leasehold extension cannot be granted. These are:
1. Properties which are within the boundaries of a Cathedral.
2. When the freehold is owned by the National Trust.
3. The property concerned is owned by the Crown.
4. The property is owned on a shared-ownership basis , e.g. jointly owning a flat with a housing association. You can only apply to extend the lease when you take full ownership of the property.
But bear in mind there are estimated to be around 4.5 million leasehold residential property in England and Wales. And each of those is going to require a lease extension at some stage.
Can my Freeholder refuse to extend my lease?
Legally, a freeholder can only refuse to allow you to extend your lease if one of the following circumstances apply:
• They are planning to demolish the property in the near future
• They have proved that you are not eligible to apply to extend the lease [for one of the reasons set out above].
• They can prove that you, or your solicitor, have not followed the proper process. This might involve missing strict deadlines or not providing the right information in the Initial Notice.
There are however other factors which can cause disputes or delays between the leaseholder and the freeholder, including arguments about whether or not your freeholder’s own legal and valuation fees are felt to be reasonable. That’s because as the leaseholder making a formal or statutory application for lease extension, you are liable to pay the freeholder’s own reasonable legal and valuation fees as part of the process, and this can some cause problems.
The importance of appointing a specialist extension law firm
It is important to remember however that both the law and procedure in leasehold extension is complicated. That’s why it’s crucial that you have the services of a law firm with specialist lease extension solicitors who have plenty of experience in extending leases, and are able to guide you past the pitfalls.and we are specialists. Our expert 6 strong leasehold team deal with nothing but lease extensions, freehold purchase and the right to manage. This makes them possibly the largest, most specialist team of its type in the country.
And our team deal with around 500 lease extensions each and every year. Over the last 25 years we have helped many thousands of leaseholders, just like you, to successfully extend their lease.
But don’t just take our word for it. We are the only solicitors recommended for lease extension and enfranchisement work by the HomeOwners Alliance – the nations largest campaigning organisation representing the U.K.’s homeowners.
And click here to read what some of our our enfranchisement and lease extension clients and referrers think about us.
When should I extend my lease?
Wherever possible, you should get a lease extension when the lease is anything lower than 85 years unexpired, and you should not let it drop below 80 years. That’s because the moment your lease drops below that critical 80 year period, your freeholder is entitled to charge you more for your lease extension – is something called “marriage value” applies to all leases below 80 years.
So, our team’s strong advice is to get your lease extended as soon as possible – before the costs of doing so increase.
Why? That’s simple. Failing to extend your lease now means your being hit by a double whammy. With rising property prices, the cost of your lease extension is significantly dependent on the market value of your flat – and so if your flat’s value is going up, it’s only going to get more expensive to extend your lease.
And the 2nd factor that affect the value of your lease extension premium is the length of your term. In short, the shorter your lease term, the more you’re going to have to pay to extend your lease.
The problems in selling a flat with a short lease – and the importance of a lease extension
And what’s more, if your lease has less than 65-70 years to run, your property will become increasingly less appealing to buyers. In particular many mortgage lenders have clear policies either to refuse lending against flats with such short leases or if you’re lucky to get someone to lend to any potential buyer, the lender will offer less favourable terms.
And if your prospective purchaser can’t get a mortgage, that restricts the potential purchasers to just cash buyers who are likely to push for a much lower price. So if you’re thinking of selling a short lease flat, don’t be shark bait. Make sure you get your lease extension sorted well in advance of putting your property on the market.
So the advice from our specialist lease extension solicitors is simple – if you want to extend your lease, don’t delay. It is simply going to become more expensive.
In probate, are the executors required to have owned the lease for two years of more prior to an extension application?
Yes, if a leaseholder qualifies for an extension yet passes away prior to making an application for a formal or statutory lease extension, executors of the estate of the deceased are legally entitled to do so. They will have a period of up to two years to exercise such right, which can then be transferred to the beneficiary ie the person bequeathed the property under the will.
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