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.
Need your lease extend? Looking for Specialist Solicitors? Call us on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 for FREE Initial Phone Advice.
I haven’t owned my lease for 2 years; can I extend my lease?
Normally, no you do not have the legal right to extend your lease using the statutory route until you’ve owned your flat for 2 years.
But there is a way around this if you are in the process of buying a flat with a short lease that needs extending. If the seller has owned the flat for at least 2 years, you can get them to put in the original section 42 lease extension application and then transfer across (assign) their rights to an extension on completion as part of the sale arrangement.
This can, however, be a complicated process and when we are acting for purchasers of short lease property in this situation, we usually arrange to take over control of service of that original application on behalf of the vendors – to make sure it’s done properly. Specialist legal advice is a must on this one!
NB although it is not a legal right, you could also use the informal or voluntary route to extend your lease – and simply negotiate directly with the freeholder.
Click here to read more about informal lease extensions and the risks involved
I’ve never actually lived in my flat – can I apply?
Yes. There is no requirement that you have lived in your flat to qualify for your lease extension. So, for example, property investors are is entitled to extend their leases as are owner occupiers.
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 buying your freehold as an alternative to extending your lease.
What are the first steps in extending a lease?
First you must check that you qualify for to extend the lease on your flat. 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 for the lease extension.
Click here to find out more about Lease Extension Valuation
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 the First-Tier Property Tribunal, which once again will extend the length of time taken to complete the whole process. Fortunately relatively few cases ever reach the Tribunal.
Click here to read more detail about how to extend a lease
How long will my lease extension be for?
Under the Leasehold Reform, 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.
Can an Executor Extend a Lease?
Yes they can – but only if the deceased person qualified for a lease extension themselves i.e. they owned a flat, or leasehold house, for a minimum of 2 years.
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