For owners of leasehold properties, the option of extending the long lease on a property can have numerous financial benefits. Aside from potentially increasing the value of the leasehold title, it also comes with the benefit of reducing the ground rent on the property to nil (also known as ‘peppercorn rent’).
The Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993, makes it possible for anyone who has owned a long-term lease for longer than 2 years, to add an additional 90 years to anything that is left on the existing lease. In exchange for a premium, landlords are obliged to offer lease extensions to any leasehold owners who follow the correct procedure.
In any instance where you may be considering extending your lease, it is important that you instruct and engage a solicitor to represent you. You will also need an independent surveyor. You should also begin this process before the remaining lease falls below 80 years as this triggers a higher premium payment to your landlord. Your surveyor will be required to create a formal valuation report, which is key to deciding the amount of premium payable to your landlord.
Once you have received the valuation report, your solicitor then submits a Section 42 Notice to your landlord, stating your wish to extend your lease and the independent valuation of the extension. By law, landlords have 2 months to commission their own valuation survey, which you will be required to pay for, and serve their counter-notice. This will contain their valuation of the lease extension, the premium they require and any other lease terms. They can also request a deposit. At this point, both parties can then enter negotiations, which can last over a 6-month period leading to the drafting of the new lease, payment of the rest of the premium, and registration of the lease extension at the Land Registry.
If you and your landlord can’t come to an agreement within the 6-month window, your solicitor will then refer the case to the First-tier Property Tribunal who will then review the evidence and decide on the premium that needs to be paid.
If you have tried your best to locate your landlord to no avail, you need to apply to the County Court for a vesting order. This then enables you to refer the matter to the First-Tier Property Tribunal who then decide the premium required for a lease extension.
Jarmans Solicitors have a wealth of experience in negotiating lease extensions and work hard to ensure that the process is as smooth as possible. If you are considering extending your lease or are concerned that you can’t track down your landlord, contact our team for a consultation.
Jarmans always recommend that anyone entering into a long-term construction agreement obtains specialist legal advice from the beginning of any contract negotiations. We are also available to mediate and advise through discussions and conflict resolution.
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