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Step by step guide to extending your lease

Extending your lease can be a long and complicated process. We run through what's involved, costs and how to get the right expert help so you can take charge of every step of your lease extension and avoid the common pitfalls.

Lease extension

UPDATE:  In January 2021, the government announced its intention to change the lease extension process to make it easier and cheaper for leaseholders of both flats and houses.  To find out more about the proposals and how it might affect leaseholders today take a look at our voice piece, Leaseholders could ‘save thousands of pounds’ under new government reforms.

Before I start, how much will it cost me to extend my lease?

It depends on the value of the property, the number of years left on the lease, the annual ground rent, the value of improvements done to the property paid by the leaseholder and external factors such as expected rate of returns on investments. It is a complex calculation, but also a subjective one which means it is open to negotiation – or decision by a tribunal.

While you can get an idea of the cost of buying up more years (referred to as the premium you have to pay to the freeholder for the extended years) with our lease extension calculator approaching a  valuation surveyor with experience of lease extensions will be worth the investment and stop you paying over the odds for your extension.

Want to know how much your lease extension will cost? Our lease extension solicitor partner can give you a free estimate and provide advice you can rely on. Find out more and speak to them today

On top of the cost of buying the extra years on your lease (the premium) you have to pay:

  • The costs of getting legal advice (your solicitor)
  • The lease extension valuation report (a surveyor)
  • Your freeholder’s reasonable legal and own valuation costs (yes, you are required by law to pay these)
  • Land Registry fees

Do I need legal expertise to extend my lease?

Yes! It can be tempting to enter into informal negotiations with the freeholders to extend your lease. By coming to an informal arrangement, you usually only have to pay your legal and valuation costs, while taking the formal route will mean you have to pay both yours and the freeholder’s costs. But if ever the phrase “false economy” applies, it is here! You may be saving on legal costs but you could be paying thousands more for the lease extension than you should be and, in the worst case scenario, make your home unsaleable.

The main issue is that with an informal extension the freeholder can make changes to the small print of the agreement to their advantage, for example adding ground rent rises. When you choose the formal statutory route, your ground rent is reduced to nothing.  Another trick is to only grant you an extension back up to 99 or 125 years, whereas with the statutory route you will get your existing term plus 90 years.

Doing things formally also affords you better protection should things go wrong. As long as you’ve gone down the formal “statutory” leasehold route, if there are any disagreements in terms of costs or other disputes you can take your case to a property tribunal.  There are also time limits with the formal route to lease extension so your freeholder can’t drag their feet.

What are the steps to extending my lease?

  • Step 1 – Inform the freeholder of your desire to extend the lease and that you will be pursuing the statutory route.
  • Step 2 – Appoint a lease extension solicitor with expertise in the field and who is a member of the Association of Lease Extension Practitioners (ALEP). Get quotes and compare costs. Our partner lease extension solicitors can provide advice you can rely on. Get in touch today.
  • Step 3 – Find a valuation surveyor with expertise in leasehold extension legislation and the local property market. Some solicitors, including our partnered firm Bonallack and Bishop, can put you in touch with surveyors they trust.
  • Step 4 – Make a formal offer. You will have to serve tenants’ notice – your solicitor will able to take care of this.
  • Step 5 Pay the deposit if one is required by the landlord. This will either be £250, or 10% of the lease cost in the tenants’ notice, if that exceeds £250.  If the landlord does require a deposit, this will have to be paid within 14 days, so it’s important to have this money readily available.
  • Step 6 – Negotiate a price. Your solicitor will advise or can handle this.

If the freeholder doesn’t accept the amount you’ve offered you will have to negotiate. Then if you still can’t come to an agreement, you will have to apply to the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). While cases going to the tribunal are relatively uncommon, they can be time-consuming and expensive, so it’s best to avoid this if you can.

How long will it take to extend my lease?

The process of extending your lease normally takes from 3 to 12 months, and it can be made quicker by efficient valuers, solicitors and other professional help, so choose these people wisely.

How can I keep lease extension costs down?

To help reduce the cost of extending your lease:

  • Extend your lease as soon as possible – especially before the 80 year point when it becomes more expensive to buy up more years
  • Appoint a specialist solicitor for the right legal advice
  • Instruct a specialist surveyor – so you get the right valuation premium and don’t pay over the odds

Is it worth trying to buy the freehold instead of extending my lease?

It could be worth buying the freehold on your home so that you own it outright. But there are complicated legal procedures and legal costs involved in this process.  You will have to get over half of all the leaseholders to agree, which could be difficult if, for example, you live in a building divided into apartments. Read more about what to consider in our guide Should I buy the freehold

Our chosen lease extension solicitors provide FREE initial telephone advice and a FREE ESTIMATE of how much your lease extension is likely to cost you – which will include a very rough estimate of the likely price of your premium, as well as the legal and valuation costs. Find out more and contact them today

 


Leave a comment (37)* Required

  1. Kistnasamy PillayKistnasamy Pillay

    I find the above very informative . Keep up the good work

  2. Elaine ShariffElaine Shariff

    Why do ‘Standard Management Packs’ vary?
    Is there a move to ensure that there are universal Standard Packs to ensure that Management Companies cannot ‘rip’ leaseholders off by demanding additional fees for Fire Risk Assessments.
    I am extending my lease to complete on my house sale. Buyers solicitor has requested a Management Pack, not sure if he requested specific information. He has 19 queries regarding the Management Pack he recieved, which did not contain the Fire Risk Assessment.

  3. zac rosmanzac rosman

    Wish to extend lease on my flat in the block of flats where I am one of freeholders. 20 flats in the block of which 12 freeholders already extended their leases individually at different times.

  4. KevinKevin

    I have a flat with a 66 year lease. It was originally 99 years . Should I serve notice to extend the lease or is it worth waiting to see if legislation will soon become law. With a 80 to 99 year lease the flat would be valued at £360,000. How much will it cost approximately to extend the lease. The freehold is a professional management company that has changed its company name on numberous occasions since 2000.

  5. GunesGunes

    Hi,

    We are trying to buy a flat which was advertised as 172 years lease at the time when we will purchase it. However today the seller’s solicitor informed us that they will use the money from the sale to pay for the extension of the leasehold. ( 3 months after our offer is accepted)

    Do you know how long is it going to take after completion for the lease to be extended?

    Our solicitor mentioned he will prepare some underwriting to the contract, however if you have any recommendations, I’ll really appreciate.

    Or is it too risky and time consuming that we should just pull out and look for some other properties?

    Thank you,

    Gunes

  6. LucyLucy

    Hello!
    I try to buy the house by mortgage since November 2019.
    When all the reports and paperwork seemed to be done,we facing that courtyard (about 3 m)it is leasehold.
    Since march 2020 i m waiting from seller to sorting out this issue.
    Unfortunately my mortgage offer been expired, once…i did renew it but very hard,and different circumstances….and i m still waiting for that report to be done.
    Please it is someone to tell me if i ve got any chance to have that report before my second mortgage offer to expire..again?
    Because i m foreign for me it is difficult to understand all this process.
    Thank you very much
    Lucy

  7. MatthewMatthew

    Using the statutory route, how long after everything has concluded, negotiation concluded, new lease drafted do you have to pay the balance of the premium, the remaining 90%

    We are trying to achieve a sale in parallel, but I am worried with the 2nd lockdown there may be delays in selling. Is there a period where the new lease or payment can held in reserve until the sale goes through if there is delay in sale?

    seems a chicken and egg situation to us.

  8. rebeccarebecca

    The 6 freeholder owners of six flats wish to extend their leases to 999years what is the cost and is it something we can do ourselves

  9. Motown girlMotown girl

    Check out the Leasehold Advisory services Website LEASE. The information on the Lease extension is very thorough and precise.

  10. nicknick

    Re a lease extension . I believe that if the value of the property is ‘low’ then marriage value is excluded .

  11. C AldridgeC Aldridge

    Shared ownership lease extensions are complicated as shared owners do not have the right to extend if they do not own 100%. The extension can only be done by “Agreement”. Beware this can be very costly and if you cannot come to an agreement with the landlord you could end up losing hundreds of pounds because of the costs you have to pay before you know how much the lease extension will cost you.

  12. SueSue

    I bought a flat in November 2017 and I own a share of the freehold. The directors of the freehold company have agreed to extend my lease. Am I still legally eligible to do so having owned the flat for less than 2 years? Thanks

  13. J. LackJ. Lack

    I would like to know the ‘formula’ for calculating the cost of a lease extension

    • PaulaPaula

      Josephine, It’s not an exact science, but we do have a leasehold calculator to help you with your estimate.

      https://hoa.org.uk/advice/guides-for-homeowners/i-am-buying/leasehold-extension-calculator/

      The rules are set out in legislation, but in general it is
      – the reduction of value of the landlord’s interest in the flat
      – the landlord’s share of the marriage value (the increase in the value of the flat after the extension has been awarded)
      – the compensation for loss arising from the new lease

      If you are thinking of extending your lease you will also need to engage a leasehold solicitor. For a free consultation and quote you can enter your details here and our partners at Bonallack and Bishop will give you a call.

  14. J. LackJ. Lack

    I would like to know why the law is heavily weighted in favour of the freeholder. It seems they can get away with charging what they like and if you challenge them and go to tribunal and lose you have to pay their costs as well. some of my neighbours have paid an amount which seems to be way over the odds. Is there a formula? more importantly is there going to be a change in the law to make this system fairer?

    • PaulaPaula

      We completely agree that the freehold/leasehold system is unfair – with the main beneficiaries to be the freeholders and their managing agents. You might want to read more about our campaign for change – https://hoa.org.uk/2017/09/better-protection-for-leaseholders/. We have publicly called on government to commit to ending the leasehold system within 50 years. Action is being taken by government to stamp out some of the abuses – such as the leasehold house or doubling of ground rents scandal, but we believe more needs to be done.

  15. NinaNina

    If possible, I would like to receive an estimate on how much a lease extension may cost on my flat. It’s sgared ownership and I have 75% and so I’m aware I have no statutory right to extend. However, I’ve had an indication the ‘landlord’ may give me the remaining 26 years. My % is for sale at £90k but no one can buy it because of the lease being for 84 years. The ground rent is 0.01p per year.
    Amy advice would be much appreciated

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hi Nina, you can fill out this simple contact form and our expert solicitors will be in touch to give you your free phone consultation and a free quote. Your details will not be shared with anyone else. https://hoa.org.uk/services/find-lease-extension-solicitor/

  16. raj jingreeraj jingree

    I have 67 years on my lease on the 2 bed flat,with no ground rent payment.My solicitor have sent letters to the lease holders, with no response.
    How can we move forward

  17. LosanLosan

    I have a flat (in a converted house) estate agents valued at £450k with a lease I want to extend from 71yrs to 99yrs. The freeholders have asked for £20k. The ground rent is negligible.
    1/ Is their offer reasonable?
    2/ If I can’t extend the lease in time will it affect remortgaging?

  18. Kristen EdwardsKristen Edwards

    My comment after going through the lease extension process, is that leaseholders are easy rip off targets.

    Lease extension period of 90 years maximum is insufficient…it should be at lease double that.

    Buy a freehold property if you can as leasehold is a con.

  19. VeleshiaVeleshia

    I saw a property for £75k I want to buy and rent out. On Zoopla the flat is said to be worth between £90-£100k. The flat has an unexpired lease of 85 years and the freeholder has said he’s happy to extend the lease back to 99years so only adding 14 years. My question is, is if I buy the property for £70-£75k is it worth me extending the lease back to 99years. I plan on selling it in 4 years so there will be a 95 year lease so in theory.

  20. CarolineCaroline

    Hi,
    I have got 66 years left on my two bedroom flat which is in Friern Barnet. I was wondering how much It would cost?

  21. TonyTony

    Hi have a flat for 10 years the lease it is going to expire in 6 month .my Servoyer report say I should pay 220 thousand but the land lord asking for 420 thousand . And the marketing price will be 230 thousand . What will happened if my land lord says I still want 420 thousand is it up to him? Please

  22. Paul FlintPaul Flint

    My partner has just purchased a two bed bungalow & garage on retirement complex for £210,000. The lease has 70 years left and the previous owner got a price from the freeholder to extend the lease which my partner is continuing to progress. The freeholder offered a 40 years extension for £10,800 plus costs which with our solicitors costs comes to a fraction below £13,000. Do you think this is a reasonable price?

  23. AJAJ

    HI there, I was negligent and my lease expires in 64 years, I called the freeholder and they said it can be extended, they will call a surveyor and get a valuation of the property and that they ‘normally grant a new 125 year lease’, if this is too expensive, can I ask for a 90 year lease instead? Do I have that right? Thank You.

  24. PaulPaul

    I am buying a repossessed flat for £53,500. It only has 56 yrs left on the lease. My solicitor has emailed me a document that shows a quote was obtained 3 month ago to add 90 yes to the lease for £17,500 plus all costs pax £2000. The flat is in reasonable condition needing around £7000 to bring it back to a good state of repair and rentable. Is it possible to question the excessive quotation and can I haggle for a more favourable price, regards
    Paul

  25. LesleyLesley

    I have recently extended my lease. The freeholder did not give me any idea of costs (solicitors hourly rate, surveyors costs etc.) these were requested as part of the completed negotiation. The day I had to complete the lease extension or go to tribunal I was given the completion statement. On top of the freeholders valuation fees and solicitors fee’s their was a fee for the freeholders management agents £350 to arrange for the freeholder a solicitor and valuer, explain the process etc. They also gave me an invoice for arrears which I can prove via bank statements had been paid. They did this at the last minute giving me no choice but to pay an extra £1000 approx on top of the valuation fees and solicitors fees of £350 per hour. Or apply to the court which could possibly cost several £1000’s with no guarantee of winning. I paid the invoice and I am now trying to claim under section 60 reasonable costs. My question is are the management fee’s of £350 to act as consultant part of the freeholders reasonable costs. ?

  26. Pamela JonesPamela Jones

    Does the managing agent of a block of flats have the legal right to ask for copies of our lease if he currently does not have them?

  27. AlistairAlistair

    hi,

    I’m currently looking into extending the lease on my flat. When I bought it it was at 76 years, and I have owned it for 8 years.

    I have many questions but probably foremost among them is – how do people pay for the lease extension when it is in the tens of thousands? Where do people find the money if it is 10 / 15 / £20,000? Can the cost be absorbed in your mortgage borrowing or do most people just have to find and save the total sum in cash?

  28. AimeeAimee

    I am one of 5 freeholders in a block of flats. We all want to renew the lease which is getting towards 80 years.
    How much does this cost typically and can you recommend any websites/legal firms able to do this?
    Thanks

  29. Louise CampbellLouise Campbell

    Hi Victor

    You won’t be able to start extension negotiations under the formal route until you have owned the property 2 years, unless the seller has already started the process (serving a section 42 notice). You have the option to go down an informal route, but you are not protected and often end up worse off in the long run. I would recommend getting a proper valuation prior to proceeding and asking the seller to serve a section 42 notice, if they haven’t already done so. It could work out well, but needs more research on your part first. You are also unlikely to get a mortgage on this property so assume you are a cash buyer.

    Louise

  30. VictorVictor

    Hi
    I am about to buy a flat left with 38 years on the lease. This is from a private seller and has led me to believe it only cost a few hundred pounds. The price is 40000.

    Is it advisable to proceed.

  31. SarahSarah

    Anne, speak to a solicitor, a good solicitor should be able to negotiate that down on your behalf. I also saw on lease-advice.org on their lease extension page (under terms I think) something about the additional lease term being added to the current unexpired term and no further ground rent payable. I’m not sure the term of the lease just resets to 99 years. Although it may vary between informal negotiation and formal notice. This sort of thing requires experts and I’m afraid I’m not one of them!

  32. Anne SaundersAnne Saunders

    I have 72 years left on my flat valued £160000. My landlord is asking £20000 to renew it back to 99 years. Your calculators estimate around £10000. I am able to negotiate this price? Why would he be asking so much? My yearly groundrent has recently gone up to £250.

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