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Lease extension solicitors for Sussex and beyond
From our offices in Eastbourne, Bexhill and Hastings, East Sussex, our specialist lease extension solicitors can provide you with expert advice on extending your lease wherever you are in the country.
With leasehold being the most common form of flat ownership in England and Wales, it’s not surprising we regularly help clients extend their leases, often before they sell their flat.
As well as lease extension advice, our team can advise you on right to manage claims, buying or selling freeholds, right of first refusal, collective enfranchisement and other related matters.
Call us on 01323 435900 or email us to discuss how we can help you with extending your lease. To learn more about the process of extending your lease, read the FAQs and tips below.
A lease is a contract through which a property owner grants another person the exclusive right to use the property for an agreed period. If you own a leasehold flat, you effectively rent it for an agreed term from the competent landlord (also called the freeholder).
A short lease can make it hard to sell your property. If your lease has less than 70 years to run, your buyer is likely to pay higher mortgage rates. And if your lease is under 60 years, your purchaser will probably find they cannot get a mortgage for it at all. If you want to sell your flat with a lease of less than 60 years, you’ll most likely need to find a cash buyer.
A long lease is always attractive to would-be buyers, so a lengthy extension to a short lease can in some cases increase the property value by thousands of pounds.
As a rule, the shorter your lease, the more it will cost you to extend it. We strongly advise that you extend your lease before it drops below 80 years. This is because with less than 80 years to run, you’ll have to pay the competent landlord 50 per cent of the flat’s ‘marriage value’ as well as the lease extension price. The marriage value (or marriage fee) is the amount of added value a lease extension would add to your flat.
Is your lease approaching the 80-year mark? If so, you should seek advice on extending it immediately. Extending a lease can be a lengthy process, so contact our specialist lease extension solicitors today.
There are two ways in which to approach obtaining a lease extension:
You can contact the competent landlord to negotiate a lease extension. You will need to agree the length of the extension, the new ground rent and the amount you will pay the competent landlord and any other interested party for the lease extension. Our specialist lease extension solicitors will ensure that you are armed with the correct advice and that you seek specific valuation advice to ensure that any negotiations with the competent landlord will lead to the best deal for you.
If you have been the legal registered owner of your property at the Land Registry for two or more years then, you are legally entitled to extend your lease by 90 years on top of the existing term and have ground rent reduced to a peppercorn, meaning nothing is payable. This will be in return for a market premium which is calculated in accordance with statute. Importantly, you do not need to have lived in the flat but it must have been a long lease(usually over 21 years) and the property must be residential, that is, not for commercial use.
The statutory procedure can be used if negotiated terms are unacceptable or if the competent landlord is not willing to negotiate. The criteria that must be satisfied to use the statutory procedure are laid down in the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993. Certain competent landlord – such as the Crown, the National Trust and charitable housing – are exempt from the legislation.
Lease Extensions can be complex and if the statutory procedure is used there are strict timeframes to follow. It is important that you obtain expert legal advice before you exercise this right to ensure that your interest is protected at all times. Our specialist lease extension solicitors can guide you through the process every step of the way.
In practice, however, most lease extensions are agreed with the competent landlord by consent, as ultimately the competent landlord cannot deny you the right to a lease extension if you have owned the property for two years. Often, though, it is still necessary to start the statutory procedure and you will need the best advice to guide you through.
The Leasehold Advisory Service has an online Lease Extension Calculator that can give you a rough estimate of the cost to extend your lease. However, it cannot give you the actual cost and we would always advise that you seek specific advice from a specialised surveyor as the calculation can be complex.
Extending a short lease could cost you tens of thousands of pounds. Speak to our lease extension solicitors to find out the likely cost.
As well as the cost of the lease extension, you’ll probably need to factor in the following expenses:
- Legal fees – to include your own legal fees and the competent landlord’s reasonable costs.
- Valuation fees – you can expect to pay around £400 to £900 for a surveyor to value your flat as part of the process. You will also be responsible for the competent landlord’s valuation fee.
- Tribunal Fees should the matter be referred to the First Tier Tribunal for determination.
- Other fees – you’ll need to pay a land registry fee, and if your flat has a mortgage, you’ll need to obtain the mortgage lender’s consent for the extension, for which a charge usually applies.
Some lease extensions also attract stamp duty, but in reality few people extending the lease on their flat need to worry about this. Stamp duty only applies if the lease extension price exceeds £125,000.
Call us on 01323 435900 or email us to discuss extending your lease.
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