Q. I am thinking of buying a property with a short lease – what should I do?
You should take advice from your solicitor before buying. You can ask your seller
to start the lease extension process before the sale, if they qualify. The law makes
it possible for a buyer to take over the process if the seller has initiated the
correct procedures, so you will not have to wait for 2 years to qualify yourself.
Q. How long can I extend my lease for?
If you have a
statutory lease extension
under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and
Urban Development Act 1993, it will be extended by 90 years. It may be possible
to extend your lease by other lengths but this would be by negotiation with your
freeholder and would not be covered by the Act (see
Q. Will my ground rent change?
If your lease is extended under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development
Act 1993, the ground rent will become a
peppercorn until the lease expires. If the
lease is extended informally without the protection of the Act, you may negotiate
an increased ground rent, or agree to more ground rent reviews in return for your
freeholder agreeing to the extension.
Q. I don't know who my freeholder is or how to find him; can I still get a lease
Your solicitor will be able to advise you on the best way to trace your freeholder.
Usually details can be found on ground rent demands. Sometimes, there may be more
than one level above you in the chain –
if for example your lease was granted by another leaseholder, sometimes called a
head landlord who in turn was granted a lease by the freeholder.
In such cases, it is usually possible to find all the relevant parties, but your
solicitor may make an additional charge for this work, as it is not a standard part
of a lease extension case, and therefore not covered by our quote. Your solicitor
will tell you what those additional charges will be.
If your freeholder cannot be traced, then an application can be made to the County
Court for the lease to be extended in the absence of the freeholder. You need to
show that all reasonable efforts have been made to trace the freeholder. Although
this work is also not standard, and therefore not covered by our quote, it may be
a cheaper option in total, because the lease will normally be granted on the basis
of the valuation in your Statutory notice, which will be lower than if a freeholder
had put in a counter notice. Your solicitor will give you advice and an estimate
of the additional charges, if this applies to you.
Q. What happens if I have to apply to a tribunal?
Leasehold Valuation Tribunal has the power, in
statutory lease extension cases,
to decide the premium payable for the lease extension, if it has not been possible
to reach agreement. Only a small number of cases reach this stage, the majority
are dealt with by negotiation. If you do have to apply to the tribunal, your solicitor
and surveyor can deal with this. However, this is not covered by our original quote,
and you will be charged separately for this stage. Your solicitor and surveyor will
tell you at the outset what their rates for this work will be.
Q. I own a leasehold house - can I extend my lease or buy the freehold?
Yes, but this is covered by different legislation, and it may be advisable to buy
the freehold rather than extend the
lease (this process is known as
If you would like to obtain a quote for this, or would like further information
please contact us .
Q. Can I buy the freehold of my flat?
In certain circumstances, tenants can group together to purchase the freehold of
their building. This is a complex process, requiring the consent of the majority
of the affected leaseholders, and there are detailed qualifying criteria. If you
would like to obtain a quote for this, or would like further information please
Q. Do I need to pay Stamp Duty?
You will only have to pay stamp duty if
the premium for the extension is over the minimum threshold (for current rates and bands, see HMRC).
If stamp duty applies to you it will be included in your quote.
Q. What will a lease extension cost?
To obtain an extension to your lease
you have to pay a
to your freeholder
This figure is determined by a surveyor, who calculates a proposed figure, based
on a number of factors including the remaining term of the lease and the value of
the property. This figure has to be negotiated with your freeholder and in statutory
cases, where negotiations fail, it is determined by the
Leasehold Valuation Tribunal
In addition to the premium, you will have to pay the professional fees of your solicitor
and surveyor and also your freeholder's valuation and legal costs as well. Our comparison
service ensures that your professional fees are very competitive, whilst giving
you the reassurance that the professionals you instruct are of a high quality. You
will know the cost up front, giving you peace of mind by getting a quote now