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Leasing law can be complex. At Lewis Nedas Law we have a skilled team of specialists with over thirty years of experience with fully qualified solicitors who can help you through the detail of lease extensions, enfranchisement and rights to manage, to comply with the strict time limits laid down by the legislation and to make the process as painless as possible.

Leasing Solicitors London

We represent lessees, landlords, residential associations and property management companies and have good relationships with local expert valuers all of which will help you achieve your aim and preserve the value of your property.

We specialise in the following areas:

Lease Extension

The majority of residential leaseholders have the right, under the Leasehold Reform Act 1993, to extend their lease. A lease is a ‘wasting’ asset gradually losing value. As the years left on your lease go down, so does its value and it often becomes harder to sell. Sometimes it is difficult to obtain a mortgage against short leases. In fact many lenders including Halifax require a minimum term of 70 years.

It is sometimes mistakenly believed that the length of the lease does not matter if you have a share in the freehold. This is not the case as mortgage lenders will require the mortgage to be secured on the leasehold title.

The Leasehold Reform Housing & Urban Development Act 1993 gives you the right to extend for a further 90 years at a peppercorn rent and as long as you are a residential tenant, have owned your flat for at least two years and the lease had 21 years or more when originally granted. However, in vast majority of cases you will have to pay your landlord a premium for the extension. This can end up being a substantial sum of money.

The premium will increase significantly once the lease falls below 80 years as so called ‘marriage value’ will also become payable to your landlord as part of the premium.  Marriage value is, in simple terms, the additional value of the leasehold property arising out of the leasehold and freehold interests coming together.

By way of example, a flat say worth between £200,000 -300,000 with a term of 90 years may attract a premium of £2,000 -3,000 whereas, the same flat with a term of 79 years may result in the premium being £7,000 - £9,000.

Therefore, it goes without saying that the sooner you extend your lease, the less you will have to pay.

You will need to get your lease valued and then follow a complex prescribed procedure which begins by serving a notice on your landlord. It is vital that this process is fully understood and that the costs of embarking upon the extension, which will include not only you being responsible for your own costs but your landlord’s reasonable costs as well, are explained to you in detail. We can advise you on lease extension calculation and can guide you and represent you throughout the lease extension process.

We can also advise you on the complex process involved in extending your lease if you cannot find your landlord.

Leasehold Enfranchisement

Collectively buying the freehold or leasehold of your block has been a legal right to qualifying leaseholders since 1993 under the Leasehold Reform Act. As leases get shorter, collective enfranchisement is one way of preserving the value of your property and, at the same time, gaining control over the management of your block.

If you own a share of the freehold, then you can more easily extend the term of years under your lease which will preserve its value on any sale in the future and often a new lease is executed at the same time the actual freehold purchase completes.

The building must have at least two flats in it and if there are only two flats then both tenants must join in the application, otherwise at least half of the flats must be tenants who wish to participate. The original leases must have been granted for at least 21 years and, unlike leasehold extensions referred to above, there is no requirement for a tenant to have owned the flat for at least two years to qualify. As with extensions, a surveyor’s valuation will be required as to the costs of the freehold and we can help you through the process by co-ordinating your approach to the landlord, forming a specific company as a vehicle to buy the freehold, and arranging for the participating leaseholders to become members in that company.

Right to Manage

Does your management company and/or landlord not manage the building in which your flat is situated to yours and your co-tenant’s satisfaction? Are your service charges too high in your view and is it difficult to arrange for work to be done on the common areas of your building? If the answer to some or all of those points is yes then the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 gives you the right to force your landlord to hand over the right to manage your block of flats, subject to certain conditions being met, to you and your co-tenants. All you have to do is set up a right to manage company. To do that, as with extending your lease and collective enfranchisement, your original lease must be more than 21 years at the date it was granted, your building must contain at least two flats held by tenants who qualify and at least half the tenants must want to take part in acquiring the right to manage. Two-thirds of the total number of the flats in the building must be owned by qualifying tenants and not more than a quarter of the space must be non-residential. If those criteria apply, then you can apply for a right to manage. As before, you will have to be responsible for your landlord’s reasonable costs, your own solicitor’s costs and the costs for setting up the right to manage a company.

In all of the above situations we can help. These are tricky areas of law where it is important to get expert advice.

Contact our London Solicitors for Lease Extension & Leasing Advice

For further information or to speak to our property lawyers please telephone us on 02073872032, complete our online enquiry form, or contact Richard McConnell.

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