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If you own a leasehold property in the Sheffield region, or anywhere in England and Wales, it's essential to check how long you have left on your lease before it’s too late. If your lease has 80-90 years or less before it expires, you need to speak to our leasehold specialists at Banner Jones Solicitors for advice on your options.

As a leaseholder, you own the property and its land for the length of your lease agreement with the freeholder. Once the lease expires, the property will go back to the freeholder.

If the remaining time of the lease is shorter than 80-90 years, your property will steadily become less valuable, so extending your lease can be vital to ensure that your proerty can be sold in the future.

At Banner Jones, we've helped many leaseholders take control of their own home, with our hassle-free and easy to understand approach. For more information, call our specialised team today on  0330 017 6309.

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What are Your Options?

We would always recommend that you consider purchasing your freehold, however, if this is not something you wish to consider then the other option is to extend your existing lease.  This is a process sometimes known as Leasehold Enfranchisement.

Leasehold Extension

Under the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993, a leaseholder has the right to add 90 years to what is left on an existing lease.  Under this new arrangement, the leaseholder will pay no ground rent (also known as "peppercorn rent").  By increasing the length of the lease, you are also increasing the value of the property.

If the Lease is Under 90 Years

Sometimes freeholders are willing to give a longer extension and a different ground rent arrangement. We can advise on the “negotiations” with the freeholder or even do the negotiations for you on your behalf as part of the process.

Why do leases need extending?

Owning a leasehold property usually means owning a lease which has a finite term of years.  Often leases are granted for 99 years or 125 years, and many will now have less than 80 years to run. 

This is the point at which many mortgage lenders begin to refuse to lend money to a buyer, so it is importany to have your lease checked if you are unsure of how long is left on it.  We can help with this if required.

Do I just ask my freeholder for a lease extension?

Yes – this is what we call an “informal negotiated lease extension”. 

The problem with this method is that the freeholder is allowed to dictate the terms.  This means they might offer you a minimum number of extra years, at the highest possible price, retaining a high ground rent and conditions in the lease that increase the rent at set intervals. Because of this, we usually advise our clients to follow the statutory lease extension procedure or to take expert advice from a specialist valuer before they finalise an informal deal.  We work with specialist valuers and can help to ensure that the terms of the lease extension are fair.

If you already have an agreement with your Freeholder, we can help you record this or negotiate it as necessary before arranging registration at the Land Registry.

What is the statutory procedure?

To qualify for this process there are a number of criteria, the most relevant of which is that you must have owned the lease for at least two years. 

The procedure begins by serving a Section 42 notice on your freeholder.  Within a certain time limit, the freeholder responds with a Section 45 counter-notice and negotiations then commence in order to agree the price.  If the price cannot be agreed by negotiating, an application to the Property Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal will be needed which we can assist with if necessary.

The form of the lease is set:

    The term will be your existing term plus an additional 90 years added on.

    The ground rent is reduced to zero.

    The lease otherwise remains the same as before, save for various statutory provisions.

The good news it that the freeholder is not entitled to impose new restrictions or make your lease more restrictive than it was before.

What if my freeholder just ignores my Section 42 notice?

We can help you to make an application to the County Court for a ‘vesting order’.  The Court will order that a new lease should be granted on the terms stated in your Section 42 initial notice.  The freeholder must implement the terms of this order – if they do not, a further application is made to actually grant the new lease.  This rarely happens as the freeholder cannot stop you getting your lease extension, so from their perspective, it is better to respond to your notice and remain involved in the process.   We are familiar with many of the larger freeholders in this region and so are often better placed to assist you with your discussions.

Selling after a lease extension

The team at Banner Jones Solicitors can help you to sell the property once the lease extension has completed.  You don't have to wait to sell the property as you can transfer the extension process to the buyer to complete.  

Why you need a specialist Leasehold Extension Solicitor

Most leasehold extensions can be complex, but without it, your property may become unsaleable.   If your parents own a leasehold property it may also be worth getting the length of their lease checked too. We’ve seen instances where children are left with their parent’s leasehold property as part of their estate that they have little hope of selling.

When it comes to leasehold properties, it's essential to get the correct legal advice at an early stage. At Banner Jones, we have a wealth of experience in dealing with lease extensions and freeholder negotiations, so for more information on extending your leasehold property, speak to our expert leasehold conveyancing team on 0330 017 6309. 

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