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Lease extensions are a crucial aspect of property ownership in the UK, particularly for those who own leasehold properties. If you find yourself in a situation where your lease is running out, it’s essential to understand when and how to seek legal advice to protect your interests. In this post, we will explore the key aspects of lease extensions, why they matter and the steps you should take when considering legal assistance.

Understanding Lease Extensions

Before diving into the specifics of seeking legal advice, it’s important to have a solid grasp of what a lease extension entails. In the UK, many properties are sold on a leasehold basis rather than a freehold. This means that you own the property for a set period; typically 99 or 125 years, but not the land it stands on. As the lease term decreases, the value of your property can decrease, making it more challenging to sell or mortgage. Therefore, lease extensions become essential for leasehold property owners looking to maintain or enhance the value of their homes.

When Should You Consider a Lease Extension?

The timing of seeking a lease extension is crucial. It’s generally a good idea to start thinking about it when your lease has around 85 years remaining. Waiting too long can result in a significantly higher cost for the extension, as well as making it more difficult to secure a mortgage or sell your property.

How to Seek Legal Advice for a Lease Extension

Once you’ve decided that a lease extension is in your best interest, it’s time to seek legal advice. Start by looking for a solicitor who specialises in lease extensions and property law. They will have the expertise needed to guide you through the process.

Your solicitor will then start by assessing your lease and determining the current market value of the lease extension. This involves looking at various factors, including the remaining lease term, ground rent and property value.

To begin the formal process, your solicitor will serve a Section 42 Notice on your freeholder. This notice expresses your desire to extend the lease and includes your proposed terms. The freeholder then has a set period to respond to the Section 42 Notice, usually two months. They can either accept your terms or propose their own.

Your solicitor will then handle negotiations in respect of the lease terms, on your behalf, ensuring that your interests are protected and that the terms of the lease extension are fair. Once both parties agree on the terms, the solicitor will draft the necessary legal documents to formalise the lease extension.

After the agreement is reached, the lease extension is registered with the Land Registry.

Why Legal Advice is Essential

Seeking legal advice during the lease extension process is crucial for several reasons including the legal expertise these professionals have to offer. 

Lease extensions involve complex legal aspects, and having a solicitor who specialises in this area ensures that you navigate the process correctly. Negotiation skills are often unmatched. Solicitors are skilled negotiators who can secure the best possible terms for your lease extension.

You can also avoid pitfalls with their support. Legal advice can help you avoid common pitfalls and mistakes that could be costly in the long run. They also provide peace of mind. Having a solicitor by your side provides peace of mind, knowing that your interests are protected throughout the process.

Costs and Fees

It’s important to note that there are costs associated with seeking legal advice and extending your lease. These costs can include your solicitor’s fees, valuation fees and the premium paid to the freeholder for the lease extension, in addition to the freeholder’s legal and valuation fees. However, the investment in extending your lease can often outweigh the long-term financial and practical benefits.

In conclusion, lease extensions are a crucial consideration for leasehold property owners in the UK. Knowing when to seek legal advice and how to navigate the process is essential for maintaining the value and marketability of your property. By engaging a specialised solicitor like Gillhams Solicitors, you can ensure that the process is smooth, fair and in your best interest. 
So, get in touch with us today by giving us a call 020 8965 4266, by emailing us at solicitors@gillhams.com or by filling in the relevant information into our online contact form and we will be happy to offer our advice and guidance during this time.

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