Clear legal advice for extending your lease

If you own a flat or other leasehold property, it is advisable to extend the lease once the term remaining falls below a certain length. This is because a shorter lease can substantially reduce the value of a property, with mortgage lenders reluctant to lend against leasehold properties where the term remaining is 70 years or less.

Provided that you satisfy certain criteria, you have the right to extend your lease by 90 years in respect of a flat and 50 years in respect of a house, paying only nominal rent.

Your landlord may agree to extend the lease and be happy to negotiate the costs of this. Alternatively, you may need to rely on the law and take a more formal approach to the process. Whichever way the extension is agreed upon, it is important to have expert legal advice as leasehold law is complicated.

At Stephen Rimmer Solicitors, our property team have extensive experience in leasehold law, including lease extensions, lease renewals and lease enfranchisement, where the leaseholder purchases the freehold. We will be happy to talk through your options with you and answer any questions you have.

How we can help with extending a lease

We can advise you in respect of the process of extending a lease and make an approach to your landlord and negotiate with them on your behalf. Extending a lease informally can be quicker and easier than the formal route, which has a strict procedure and deadlines to be met, but you may end up paying more.

Alternatively, we can go through the formal process, which will involve serving a notice on the landlord, drawing up a new lease and dealing with payment of Stamp Duty (where necessary) and the Land Registry’s fee for registration.

Consult our lease extensions solicitors in Eastbourne and Hastings

For assistance and advice in respect of lease extension, please contact a member of the team for a no obligation discussion:

For more information, see Conveyancing Services.

Our lease extension services

Our services include:

  • Advising you whether you are a qualifying leaseholder with the right to extend your lease
  • Checking the title to your property
  • Negotiating with your landlord
  • Serving formal notice on your landlord
  • Dealing with your landlord’s counter-notice, to include providing any information requested
  • Drafting a new lease
  • Arranging for payment to the landlord
  • Payment of Stamp Duty
  • Registration of the new lease with HM Land Registry
  • Dealing with difficulties such as disputes over value and absentee landlords
  • Providing you with expert representation at a First Tier Property Tribunal where necessary

Our lease extension fees

We believe that everyone should be able to access good quality legal advice at an affordable price. For this reason, we always ensure that our fees are competitive while offering excellent service and genuine legal expertise.

We are usually able to offer fixed fees in respect of lease extensions, with the price agreed in advance so that you have complete certainty as to the costs.

Where this is not possible, we will advise you of the hourly rate of the solicitor dealing with your case and give you as accurate an estimate as possible of the likely amount of time that the issues could take.

To find out more, see our hourly rates and the way we charge for our work.

Lease extension FAQs

How do you extend a lease?

You can approach your landlord informally and see if he is willing to negotiate an agreed sum for the extension. If not, then you can use the formal route and serve notice of your intention to exercise your legal right to extend your lease.

To take advantage of this option, you will need to have owned the property for two years, and the property cannot be a business or subject to a commercial lease.

You are advised to have a professional valuation of the property carried out so that the price for the extension can be calculated.

The notice will need to include information about the lease as well as the terms you are proposing for the new lease, the sum you are prepared to pay and the date by which you require the landlord to respond.

Can the freeholder refuse to extend your lease?

If you have owned your property for two years or more, then you generally have a legal right to extend your lease under the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993. This means that the freeholder cannot usually refuse to extend the lease.

Difficulty may still arise if the landlord does not agree to the premium payable for the extension or the amount of their reasonable legal costs, which you will be required to pay. A dispute could be resolved by negotiation or mediation. If it is not, then it is open to you to ask a tribunal, namely the First Tier Property Tribunal, to hear the case and make a ruling as to the amount you should pay.

When is the best time to extend your lease?

You should always try and extend your lease before it falls below 80 years remaining, as at this point, the cost can rise substantially. This is because the value of a leasehold property will drop once the lease has less than 80 years remaining. The amount you pay to extend a lease that has fallen below 80 years will be based in part on the difference between the value of the property before and after the lease is extended, known as the marriage value.

The government has announced that leasehold law will be reformed, making it possible for leaseholders to extend their lease by 990 years at zero ground rent. For some, it may be worth waiting for this to be enacted, but you should speak to a legal expert to ensure you make the right decision.

How much does it cost to extend your lease?

Calculating how much it will cost to extend a lease can be complicated. It will depend on the value of the property, the number of years remaining on the lease, the amount of ground rent payable, and the value of improvements you have carried out to the property. You will also need to pay additional expenses such as your legal fees, your landlord’s reasonable legal fees, the cost of a valuation and the Land Registry registration fee.

Our property team have extensive experience at extending leases and will be able to advise you of the likely cost once they have the necessary details.

What is marriage value?

Marriage value refers to the increase in value of the property once the lease has been extended. If there are more than 80 years remaining on the lease, the marriage value is held to be nil.

Once there are less than 80 years remaining, you will be required to pay half of the marriage value as well as the premium that is due for extending the lease.

Speak to our lease extensions solicitors in Eastbourne and Hastings

Based in offices in Eastbourne and Hastings, our lease extensions solicitors work with clients all across East Sussex, including in Bexhill-on-Sea, Hailsham, Polegate, Battle, Pevensey and St Leonards-on-Sea.

For advice and guidance in respect of lease extensions, please contact our expert team now:

Our conveyancing team

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