There are 22.5 million households in England and Wales according to the Office for National Statistics and 4.5 million of those are flats. 1.5 million of those flats are long leasehold flats and that means that the leases will need to be extended, thus making leasehold extension a massive market.
Sometimes, leases are even extended twice or three times on the same property. This may seem strange considering that tenants can pursue a 90 year extension from the freeholder; however, those who are short of cash (which is most of us given the current economic climate) often opt for a short leasehold extension in order to make their property easier to sell or to mortgage. Leaseholders may also opt for these short extensions because they are nearing the all-important 80 year point after which the ‘marriage value’ of the property makes leasehold extension far more expensive and they simply wish to keep the lease topped up.
The number of disputes between leaseholders and freeholders seems to be far higher today than it has been in the past according to figures from the Leasehold Advisory Service. Indeed, more than 400,000 people visited the service’s website between 2011 and 2012 compared to about 333,300 for the year beforehand. The number of enquiries was also up by 13%.
Ultimately, leasehold extension in the UK has become a very big market and more and more cases are ending up at the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal due to leaseholder-freeholder disputes.
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Leasehold extension involved highly complex legal work and few solicitors have the expertise or the in depth knowledge of the relevant rules and regulations needed to carry out such work to the required standard. But our 4 strong lease extension team are genuine specialists – extending leases is all they do
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