For Estate Agents – Problems With Short Lease Properties

It’s not just flat owners who can end up with problems when they come to try selling a leasehold property with only a comparatively short term left.

Short leases can be to a real headache for estate agents too.

Given how many long leasehold flats there are in England and Wales [an incredible 1.5 million according to recent figures from the Office for National Statistics], it’s perhaps not so surprising that most estate agents regularly come across problems in selling a flat with a short lease.

What is perhaps quite surprising, is that a surprising number of estate agents know very little about lease extension. Most of the better and more experienced professional agents are aware of lease extension but a surprising number of agents have actually no idea that tenants have the legal right to extend a short lease – some agents don’t even ask leaseholders who are looking to sell about how many years remain on the lease.

That’s why we are increasingly working alongside estate agents – to educate them and their staff about lease extension so that they can provide a better service to their clients and sell more long leasehold flats more easily and at higher prices – a scenario where everyone wins.

Don’t just take our word for it

We work with an increasing number of estate agents nationwide and successfully resolve their problems with selling short lease property. Here’s a testimonial from just one of the satisfied estate agents we work with;

“Bonallack & Bishop have helped us sell a number of properties that would have otherwise fallen through due to leasehold issues. Without doubt, they are experts in this field.”

Carl Mirauer, Newstead Estate & Letting Agents,  Bournemouth

Click here to read more reviews about lease extension experts from satisfied clients, surveyors and estate agents.

Short leases – 7 simple facts every estate agent needs to know

The law surrounding leasehold extension is complex and there are many traps for the unwary. Estate agents don’t need to become legal experts on the problems with lease extension – but they do need to be aware of the following information;

  1. every leaseholder has the legal right to force their freeholder to grant them an extra 90 years on the lease [ provided the original lease was granted for a term of at least 21 years]
  2. as an alternative to enforcing their legal right to lease extension, leaseholders can voluntarily negotiate a lease extension directly with their freeholder – though there are a number of risks with this route and it is always best to get the advice of a specialist lease extension solicitor
  3. there is no residency requirement – but [with the exception of the voluntary route above and the opportunity to the opportunity to assign the benefit of the original notice – see paragraph 4 below], the leaseholder will need to have owned the flat for a least two years before applying for a formal lease extension
  4. is your client is looking to sell quickly – or can’t afford a full 90 lease extension? There is an alternative – we can issue a formal notice on behalf of your client to start the whole lease extension process and completion of the transfer of the lease can then assign the benefit of that notice to the new owner – which means the new owner can continue with an immediate lease extension without having to wait for two years
  5. you should be aware of what is known as “the marriage value” – this simply means that as soon as the term of any lease drops one day below 80 years, the freeholder is entitled to charge a significantly higher premium to extend any lease
  6. lenders are getting increasingly reluctant to lend on short leases – and their idea of a short leases keeps on changing. Whilst 10 years ago it was common for mortgage companies to lend on flats with say 50 years left to run, now the same lenders often look for a minimum of 70 years
  7. whilst lease extension does come at a cost – the whole process is designed as an incentive for tenants to extend the lease – and it’s one of the few areas of law where instructing a solicitor can actually make you money!

If you want to know more about lease extensions in general, feel free to visit other pages of this website – in particular, if you want to know more about lease extension procedure simply click here.

Short leases – how we can help estate agents

If you are an estate agent and you want to know more about lease extension, just get in touch with us. As part of our service, we are happy to help any estate agent in England or Wales with the following different types of FREE legal support and advice;

• a personal visit and question and answer session from a member of our specialist lease extension team – though this tends to be restricted to towns are more local to us – but do feel free to ask

• a webinar – we are currently about to run a series of webinars aimed at helping estate agents with short leases

• FREE phone advice for you

• FREE phone advice for your clients

We can also introduce your client to a surveyor who specialises in leasehold extension valuations local to you.

Very few solicitors come across lease extension regularly – and only a very small number are what you describe as specialists – we are one of those firms, and what’s best, we charge for lease extension at local prices – not city rates.

So there’s really no reason not to get in touch with us today.

Estate agents – problems with short leases? Contact us today

For FREE initial phone advice from our specialist Lease Extension Solicitors;

• Call us on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 OR

• Send us an email using the contact form below.

Comments or questions are welcome.

* indicates required field