Do you want to know how to extend the length of your lease? Our simple guide is designed to help you understand the process that is involved.
The Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (‘the Act’) gives leaseholders (tenants) of residential flats or maisonettes the right to extend their lease once they have owned it for 2 years. The right is to add a further 90 years to what is left and to reduce the ground rent to a peppercorn (i.e. nil).
The freeholder (landlord) is entitled to a price or ‘premium’ for the extension and for the loss of future ground rent based on a formula set out in the Act. The tenant must also pay all of the legal and valuation costs. If the landlord and tenant cannot agree on the premium, this is fixed by the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber), formerly the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal. A lease extension calculator (see the Leasehold Advice link below) can be used to provide a guide to the premium a tenant is likely to have to pay.
It is quite possible for landlords and tenants to agree the terms of a lease extension without using the Tribunal or the formal procedures laid out in the Act. Such ‘voluntary’ extensions are commonplace but professional advice should always be obtained to ensure that the terms are fair.
If there is a prospective sale, the Act allows a qualifying tenant formally to commence the lease extension process by serving the prescribed Notice on the landlord. The benefit of the notice can then be assigned to the purchaser who takes over the extension process from the previous owner and pays the appropriate premium to the Landlord.
The Act also deals with less common situations where, for example the tenant has died or where there is an absent landlord.
A more detailed introductory guide and lease extension calculator can be found at: https://www.lease-advice.org/advice-guide/lease-extension-getting-started
For further advice, we recommend you to consult our Residential Property department or our Dispute Resolution department.
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