Lease extensions - how to avoid disputes

Lease extension disputes are becoming more and more common – particularly in and around London where the housing market is at its hottest. According to data from the Office for National Statistics there are more than 22.5 million households in England and Wales. Around a quarter of these are leasehold flats and approximately 1.5 million are long leasehold flats, which could be eligible for a lease extension. That’s a pretty sizeable chunk of the market where a lease extension could be on the cards. While there are no official figures, we know that the numbers of lease extension disputes are on the rise – bodies such as the Leasehold Advisory Service are seeing annual increases of around 20 per cent in disputes-related enquiries.

While the number of lease extension disputes is certainly climbing there are quick and efficient solutions to this problem – one of which comes from Stephensons. We know that property owners with a long lease will at some point need to look into extending that lease, which can be a long, drawn out and expensive matter where there is a difficult landlord. Our experienced team offers a three stage lease extension process that will take you from assessment through to agreement – including resolving disputes with a landlord – for minimal time and expense.

You will need to be a ‘qualifying tenant’ under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 to use our service – this requires you to own a long lease (more than 21 years), have been the proprietor for more than two years, and to be paying a nominal ground rent. We can help work out whether you qualify for those who are not sure. If you are a qualifying tenant then you’re entitled to extend your existing lease by up to 90 years and reduce the ground rent to nil. Here’s how our lease extension package can help you do it:

Step one – we will establish whether you qualify for the lease extension and, if so, we will begin the process by serving notice on your landlord.

Step two – you will need the agreement of your landlord to the lease extension and this is not always a simple matter, particularly as a ‘premium’ must be paid. If agreement can’t be reached then it will be necessary to use a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal. Our service includes making the application but not representation at the tribunal itself, or other correspondence.

Step three – after the agreement has been reached our team will complete the drafting and registration of the lease extension to finish the process.

At Stephensons we know that our clients are looking for transparently and predictably priced legal services so our lease extension service is a fixed cost as follows:

Step one £495 + VAT

Step two £1,195 + VAT

Step three £550 + VAT

With our help you can get a swift and efficient resolution to your lease extension and you may be able to avoid becoming a statistic, a victim of costly lease extension disputes.