What disputes are common during the lease extension process?
In most instances lease extension will be a mutually agreed process between both parties, after a period of negotiation. However, on occasions more substantial disagreements can arise. Ultimately, if you can’t reach agreement with the owner of your freehold, then your lease extension dispute will need to be dealt with by the “First-tier tribunal – Property Chamber (Residential Property) “ or FTT – previously known as the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (or LVT).
What kind of disputes handled by the Tribunal?
The purpose of the Tribunal is to help two parties reach an agreement via third party input. Perhaps the two most common issues that may require a Tribunal decision are;
• The size of the premium payable for extending a lease
• Disagreement about the level of the landlord’s reasonable legal costs which are payable by the freeholder
Although less common, the following issue can also require a Tribunal decision;
• Compensation due to be paid to the leaseholder if the freeholder wants to take back possession of the property for redevelopment reasons [one of the extremely limited grounds when a freeholder is justified in refusing a lease extension].
Worried about a lease extension dispute? Call our specialist solicitors on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 for FREE initial phone advice – with no strings attached.
How does the First Tier Property Tribunal work?
FTT hearings tend to be informal and differ from that of a court hearing. At the hearing the leaseholder will be allowed to present their case to a legal panel that consists of a legal professional, a surveyor and a layperson. Those three individuals will control the hearing and decide its final outcome. In terms of location, a Tribunal will often be held somewhere local to both parties.
Do I have to attend a Tribunal hearing?
No – but your case may be damaged if you choose not to attend. At a minimum if you choose not to attend you should send someone (preferably a solicitor or barrister with plenty of experience of the FTT) to represent you.
Must I have legal representation at a Tribunal?
Again no – but if your case has a multitude of issues or is complex, it’s usually a good idea if you do. Few people have the confidence to present their own case at Tribunal – remember, if you’re a leaseholder, your freeholder is highly likely to have much more experience than you – and will almost certainly have a specialist solicitor of his own, and possibly an expert surveyor, present to support their case.
How long is the Tribunal process?
Every case varies, but those involved can expect the process to take anywhere up to six weeks between first hearing and final outcome. In some rare cases the decision may even be issued immediately following the conclusion of a hearing.
Involved in a Lease Extension Dispute? Contact Our Expert Solicitors
Bonallack and Bishop are specialists in both Leasehold Enfranchisement and Lease Extension with plenty of experience of representing freeholders and leaseholders at the First Tier Property Tribunal.
As genuine specialists, we regularly represent clients throughout England and Wales – so for FREE initial phone advice just
- call our specialists on 0800 1404544 or
- fill in the email enquiry form below