Extending Your Lease
The 1993 Leasehold Reform Act (as amended) provides a right to the grant of a new lease for a term of 90 years, plus the present unexpired term, at a peppercorn rent (that is, rent free).
The formal procedure is started by the service of the Tenant’s Notice on the landlord (the Tenant’s Notice) and it then follows a prescribed route.
Qualifying as a Leaseholder
The right to extend your lease is only available to a qualifying leaseholder. To be a qualifying leaseholder you must have owned your flat under a long lease for at least 2 years.
A long lease is:
- a lease of a term of years in excess of 21 years*
- a shorter lease which contains a clause providing a right of perpetual renewal
- a statutory tenancy arising from the leaseholder having held over at the expiry of a long lease
- a shared ownership lease where the leaseholders’ share is 100%
*The present unexpired term is not relevant, qualification is governed by the original term of the lease when first granted.
Even if the leaseholder satisfies these criteria he or she will not be a qualifying leaseholder if any of the following cases apply.
- the landlord is a charitable housing trust and the flats are provided as part of the charity’s functions
- the leaseholder is a business or commercial tenant
How much will the freehold cost
The legislation does not formally require a full valuation for an application for a new lease but it is strongly recommended that you do not proceed without proper valuation advice.
In considering the likely premium you should also bear in mind the leaseholders’ liability for the landlord’s costs. The eventual cost of the new lease will be the premium plus both your own and the landlord’s “reasonable” legal and valuation costs, except any costs which are incurred in connection with proceedings before a LVT.