Southampton Lease Extension

The city of Southampton is home to more than a quarter of a million people, with the south coast city being nicknamed ‘The Gateway to the World’. It is a popular place for young families, with many amenities and attractions which make it ideal for bringing up children and getting onto the property ladder. Its popularity also means that property in Southampton can be expensive with many people choosing to get on the housing ladder by buying a leasehold flat.

A leasehold flat can be a fantastic way to get your foot on the property ladder and own your own property without having to buy a house — an ideal situation for many young families who only need the space of a flat but do not want to get trapped in the private rental sector. Leases do need special care and attention, though, and one of the things that you need to be aware of is the possibility of extending your lease -not least because trying to sell a flat with a short lease is getting increasingly difficult..

HOW OUR SPECIALISTS CAN HELP EXTEND YOUR LEASE

Firstly it’s important to realise that extending a lease involves a complex area of law with strict timetables and traps for the unwary – and in addition, the average property or conveyancing solicitor only comes across lease extension rarely.

In fact, Southampton, like most British towns and cities, has no specialist lease extension solicitors. That’s where we come in – here at Salisbury-based law firm Bonallack and Bishop, we have a team of lease extension experts – lease extension is all they do, extending leases of hundreds of clients throughout England and Wales every year.

• Our experts offer FREE initial phone advice

• We can introduce you to a specialist lease extension surveyor – who you are also going to need as part of your professional team to value and then assist in negotiating a reasonable premium for extending a lease with the freeholder of your block

• Our solicitors will handle all of your paperwork, regardless of whether you are able to negotiate a private and informal lease extension of your freeholder, or whether or not a formal notice to start the whole procedure proves to be necessary

YOUR SOUTHAMPTON LEASE EXTENSION – CALL OUR TEAM NOW

If you live in Southampton and you are considering a lease extension, or you simply want to know more about why extending a lease is so essential, simply phone our team and one of our specialists will go through your options with you – completely FREE of charge with no obligation.

• So call us now on [01722] 422300 or,

• Fill out the email contact form below

    New Addition to the Lease Extension Team

    Here at Salisbury Solicitors, Bonallack & Bishop, we are delighted to announce that our Lease Extension Team has grown!

    Jennifer Slater a Trainee Solicitor at the firm has this month joined Niki Adkins and Samantha Davies during what is a very busy time for the Lease Extension specialists, given our plan to double the amount of leasehold extension work we carry out in the next couple of years.

    Following the recent economic downturn, Mortgage Lenders have become reluctant to lend on leasehold properties with less than an 80 year term remaining, whereas in the past they would have accepted properties with a little as 70 years left. This has led to a dramatic increase in the number of people wanting to extend their lease before this time.

    Bonallack & Bishop’s senior partner, Tim Bishop, explains “Leasehold owners are finding it more and more difficult to sell their properties where the lease term has fallen below 80 years, and this is due largely to the fact that mortgage lenders’ requirements have become increasingly onerous as far as length of the lease term is concerned. This means that potential buyers are unable to obtain a mortgage to buy such properties making them essentially unsellable, unless a cash buyer can be found.

    “The only option for a leasehold seller who finds themselves in this position is to extend their lease, increasing the lease term and making the property mortgageable again.

    “Sadly those who leave lease extension until there is 80 years or less remaining on their lease will find that the premium payable to the freeholder goes up dramatically.

    Tim adds, however “It is not all doom and gloom! Our Lease Extension Team can help you today. The sooner you look to extend your lease the lower the premium you will have to pay to your Freeholder. Our Team are experts in lease extension and can advise you on the best route to take. Not only that, the Team are in contact with valuation experts who can advise you of a fair offer price for the Lease Extension to ensure that you don’t pay more than you have to.”

    Considering Extending Your Lease – get in touch with Us Today

    If you’re thinking about a lease extension, its really important that a specialist solicitor to help you because the legal process involved is complex.

    So, for expert FREE phone advice:

    • Call our team now on [SALISBURY] 01722 422300, or

    • Send us an email via the contact form below.

      Lease extension specialist retires after 32 years

      Lease extension expertDecember 2013 saw the end of an era for our lease extension work. Mary Hunt, one of our leasehold extension experts finally retired.

      Mary had been with the firm for almost 32 years without a break. She initially joined Salisbury Solicitors,  Pye-Smiths, all the way back on January 31 1981, and transferred over to us at Bonallack and Bishop when the two law firms merged eight years ago.

      Senior partner Tim Bishop, commented “we are really going to miss Mary. Over those years, doing nothing but extend residential leases, she became a real expert – and we are really going to notice her retirement. Nonetheless, she worked really hard in transferring much of a the knowledge she had accumulated over the years across to the other members of our specialist team. Hers are really big shoes to fill. Nonetheless, I wish her well in her retirement – and hope she enjoys having more time to spend with her beloved fishing”.

      Tim added, “despite Mary’s retirement, we have continuing plans to expand our team – and are hoping for a further 100% increase in the amount of leasehold extension, enfranchisement and right to manage work we carry out for leaseholders and freeholders alike, throughout England and Wales, in the course of the next three years”.

      Extending your lease – contact our specialists now

      if you’re thinking about a UK lease extension, we have the specialist expertise you need. So, for FREE initial phone advice:

      • Call 01722 422300, or
      • Send us an email via the contact form below.

        Freeholder and leaseholder obligations

        Leaseholder obligations

        1. Use language that people can understand!

        There has historically been a tendency for some property lawyers to use language which is almost incomprehensible – a habit which annoys us enormously! Not only can the sentences be too long with inadequate punctuation but the vocabulary can be obtuse and recognisable words can be used in unrecognisable ways. Lawyers have developed an unshakeable reputation for using words such as ‘heretofore’ or ‘aforesaid’ and inserting Latin phrases which only serve to drive others to distraction.

        The good news is most modern leases are not written in such a way and due to the Unfair Terms and Regulations, leases written after 1995 which are written in such an unintelligible way will not be enforceable.

        2. Terms which unfairly burden consumers

        The Office of Fair Trading forbids some terms which are deemed to unfairly encumber the consumer (or leaseholder) or unfairly benefit the supplier (or freeholder). Sometimes, efforts are made to sneak such unfair terms into long leases in particular.

        An example often seen is a clause inserted at the end of the lease which requires the leaseholder to state that they have ‘read and understood’ everything. Given how long and complicated the lease can be, it is unreasonable to expect that this would be the case. Ultimately, inserting such a clause marks an attempt to trap the leaseholder so that should an argument arise, the freeholder and his solicitor can simply point to the fact the leaseholder claimed to have read and understood all terms in the lease. Another common tactic is to use a clause giving the freeholder the last word on whether the leaseholder or freeholder has carried out the necessary duties specified in the lease. Some leases will also include disproportionate penalties for breaches of lease terms.

        Thankfully, the OFT has largely succeeded in stamping out such underhand tactics. However, given the danger of such unfair clauses, it is crucial leaseholders instruct specialist solicitors to protect their interests. A solicitor will also be able to advise you on whether the Landlord and Tenant Act which protects leaseholders in various ways.

        Freeholder obligations

        1. Respect quiet enjoyment and exclusive possession

        It is crucial that the freeholder respects the leaseholders’ rights of ‘exclusive possession’ (the right to exclude others, the freeholder in particular, from the property) and ‘quiet enjoyment’ (the right to avoid interference from the freeholder provided that the property is being used legally) of the property.

        The ‘right to enjoyment’ can be complex because the right only applies to breaches by the freeholder and their agent. Therefore, if the freeholder carried out noisy work in the building which disturbed you as the leaseholder, they are in breach of your right to quiet enjoyment. However, if another leaseholder plays loud music all night they cannot be breaching this right because they are not bound by it. Instead, you would need to take nuisance action against them.

        2. Section 48 Notice

        Section 48 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 offers important protection to leaseholders as well. It exists to prevent freeholders simply ‘disappearing’ by failing to provide contact details for example in an attempt to shirk their obligations. Freeholders are legally obliged to provide leaseholders with a name and address in England or Wales through which they can be contacted. This address needn’t be a home or registered office (in the case of a property company); it could be a solicitor’s office or a property management company’s office. This can be particularly helpful for leaseholders whose freeholder has moved overseas.

        This notice can simply be included in another document and the freeholder will not be able to claim that they never saw the notice if it is sent to the address listed: pleading ignorance is not a valid excuse. If the notice is not served, the leaseholder can withhold payment of rent arrears or service charges until the notice is provided.

        3. Good Management

        Freeholders are legally required to check that responsibilities as a manager are fulfilled in the proper manner. If a leaseholder believes that the freeholder is not fulfilling their management duties they can take their freeholder to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT) which will make a judgement and can punish or demand action from the freeholder. This process can be drawn out and expensive but is better than leaseholders taking matters into their own hands by refusing to pay service charges for example, which could place them in breach of their lease.

        Dial 01722 422300 for expert advice on leaseholder rights and obligations

        It is crucial that both leaseholders and freeholders are fully aware of their rights and responsibilities. For more information on this complicated area of property law, call our leasehiold extension specialists on 01722 422300, or

        Send us an email via the contact form below.

          The size of the leasehold extension market in the UK

          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.

          For UK leasehold extension advice from specialist solicitors –  contact our team today

          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

          For lease extension advice to rely on,  call us on  01722 422300, or

          Fill out our contact form to get in touch

            Bristol Lease Extension Solicitors

            Do you own a leasehold flat in Bristol? If so, you should be thinking about extending your lease. Those who delay lease extensions end up paying a heavy price – so get in touch with our solicitors today to get yours out of the way.

            Bristol is currently home to more than 437,500 people, and it’s growing all the time. As a vibrant cultural hub, Bristol has an increasing rental and leasehold market with more and more people looking to buy a home in the city. In fact, the population has boomed from just 380,615 at the time of the 2001 census, making it one of the fastest growing cities in the UK.

            The growing demand for properties in Bristol has meant that buying a leasehold flat or apartment has become increasingly popular – enabling, in particular, young people and couples to get on the housing ladder when perhaps they simply can’t manage the expense of buying a house.

            Want to know more about lease extension question? Call our specialist solicitors on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 for FREE initial phone advice – with no strings attached.

            WHY BOTHER EXTENDING YOUR LEASE?

            Extending your lease increases the value of your flat

            The shorter the remaining length of your lease, the less valuable your property will be should you decide to sell.

            Therefore, the longer your leave your leasehold extension, the more value you lose on the property. By contrast, properties with very long leases will hold far greater value and may even fetch a similar price to a flat with joint freehold. Extending your lease makes your flat easy to sell

            Flats with short leases are often very hard to sell.

            Potential buyers are almost always more likely to buy flats with longer leases. One of the reasons for that is that many lenders simply won’t lend on short leases. So if, for example you let your lease drop as low as 50, you may find that the only buyers able to purchase your property are cash buyers – and they’ll be looking for a real bargain and looking to drive your price down

            Extend your Lease and pay zero ground rent

            If you extend your lease you will only have to pay what is known as “a peppercorn rent”  which is effectively zero. Most leases have clauses allowing for regular increases in ground rent – often every 10 years but sometimes more often. And older leases also tend to have much bigger permitted increases in those regular ground rent reviews. So paying a peppercorn rent can save you a lot of money

            HOW WILL A SPECIALIST LEASE EXTENSION SOLICITOR HELP YOU?

            If you instruct one of our lease extension solicitors you will be giving yourself the best chance of securing a fair deal for your lease extension. Many generalist lawyers today are tempted to experiment with lease extension work only to make serious mistakes. By contrast, our solicitors understand the complexities of this area of law and can help you with the following:

            • Managing the lease extension timetable: strict deadlines apply to lease extension work so it is important that your solicitor is able to manage the process and collect all relevant information in time

            • Finding a surveyor: it is crucial that you find a reputable surveyor to value your lease. Our solicitors will be able to put you in touch with experts

            • Dealing with difficult landlords: Many landlords either refuse to co-operate or deliberately impede negotiations. The aim of this is to let your lease run down below the crucial 80 year mark when prices for extension rise dramatically. Should they continue to act obstructively, your solicitor will be able to apply to the First-Tier Property Tribunal

            • Drafting legal documents and typing up loose ends post-completion

            BRISTOL LEASE EXTENSIONS – OUR EXPERT TEAM CAN HELP

            If you instruct the specialist lease extension team and Bonallack & Bishop you will receive advice from acknowledged experts. And we are members of the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Solicitors.

            Our three-strong team of leasehold extension experts contains a wealth of experience and would be happy to help you with your property –  and lease extension and freehold purchase is all they do .

            How much does lease extension cost? Click here to find out

            FOR ADVICE ON EXTENDING YOUR LEASE – CONTACT OUR SPECIALISTS TODAY

            Remember that the cost of extending your lease goes up with every month that passes.

            So take action and contact us today to start the lease extension process. We needn’t see you in person and should be able to complete your lease extension by phone, email and Skype.

            • Just call us on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 for a FREE initial phone consultation and a FREE quote for your lease extension, OR
            • Complete the email contact form below

              New First-Tier Chamber Introduced to Replace Leasehold Valuation Tribunal

              In an effort to simplify the property tribunal process, the seven sets of rules which presently apply to various disputes over property will be brought together under one tribunal process.

              This new tribunal came into effect on 1st July 2013, and is called the First-Tier Tribunal Property Chamber, which will merge the adjudicator to Her Majesty’s Land Registry with the Agricultural Land and Residential Property Tribunals. 12,000 cases are expected to be dealt with by the First-Tier Chamber annually and the new President of the Chamber will have a team of 19 judges and 2 senior judges in support.

              It is hoped that the new consolidated tribunal will make justice more accessible and comprehensible to those locked in disputes ranging from residential leasehold and lease extension disputes to agricultural property disagreements.

              The new property chamber effectively replaces the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal which is regularly called upon to resolve disputes relating to the prices quoted for lease extension or leasehold enfranchisement as well as arguments over property management issues, rent arrears and service charge disputes for example.

              The point in having such tribunals is that they are supposedly less formal, more flexible and often faster and less expensive ways of reaching a valuation or settling a dispute than going through the courts. However, there have been accusations in the past that landlords and freeholders were able to take advantage of the LVT too easily meaning that leaseholders unfairly lost out. Freeholders were often able to cause delays by failing to provide documentation or information which was important to the leaseholder’s case but under the new rules, this will be more difficult as leaseholder will have greater freedom to demand disclosure of such information.

              The changes mean that new rules and procedures will be used for tribunals and leaseholders, surveyors and solicitors alike need to make quick adjustments to get used to the fresh system. For example, the wording and content of various documents and forms (including the Right to Manage Claim Notice and Counter Notice, Ground Rent Demands and the Summary of Tenants Rights and Obligations) will need to change.

              The new tribunal is set to have more powers than the LVT is replaces. One major criticism of the LVT was its lack of teeth but this should not be an issue with the First-Tier Tribunal. If one party fails to cooperate or actively breaks the rules, the tribunal will now be able to impose sanctions, which may mean excluding the party from the process. If a case is clearly baseless, parties will also be able to apply to have the case struck off. The power of the tribunal to award costs is also set to change. Under the LVT, costs could only be awarded up to £500 if a party behaved unreasonably, whereas there is no limit on the damages which can be awarded by the new tribunal.

              The changes have of course only recently been introduced but the initial response from those within the legal profession has been possible with the focus firmly set upon making sure that lawyers and most importantly their clients can understand the process and access the tribunal easily.

              For First-Tier Tribunal Property Chamber Legal Advice –  call us now

              It is crucial that the solicitor you instruct to help with your property dispute or  leasehold extension is an expert – especially now that the LVT has been replaced by the First-Tier Tribunal. Our specialist property team are here to advise you on the new process, so:

              • Call us today on 01722 422300, or
              • Complete the contact form below to get in touch.

                Extending the lease on a house – FAQ

                If you own a leasehold house you are likely to be able to extend your lease – however there are various advantages to buying the freehold as you will see from the answers to the following frequently asked questions.

                Am I eligible for lease extension on my house?

                The chances are that you will be eligible for lease extension – however there is a chance that you won’t be. All leaseholders must have owned the house for at least 2 years and those who have owned the house for less than 2 years will not be eligible. Your eligibility may also be affected if you already have a business lease, if the original lease was for less than 21 years, or if you have sublet a property with a lease under 21 years. You should also know that you can only extend your lease once and this must be done before the lease ends. Therefore, if you have extended your lease before, or your lease has run down you may not be able to get an extension.

                Different rules apply to house lease extension and flat/apartment lease extensions. Flat leases can be extended for up to 90 years whereas house leases require 2-year ownership and can only be extended to 50 years.

                Are prospective buyers put off by short leases?

                A house with a lease below 70 years is likely to be difficult to sell. Potentials buyers will usually struggle to get a mortgage if the lease is short and they are often reluctant to wait 2 years before they can extend the lease. It is therefore in your interests to extend the lease – it will add value to your property. Make sure you apply for your extension before your lease runs out though because otherwise you may lose the right entirely.

                I don’t know who my freeholder is? How do I find out?

                If you are unaware who your freeholder is you should ask the Land Registry to find out for you.

                How do I go about extending the lease on my house?

                You have two options for your lease extension.

                • Either you attempt to do this informally by making contact with your freeholder and negotiating a price, or
                • You make a formal statutory request for lease extension which involves a strict procedure. You will need to pay the legal fees of both you and the freeholder as well as valuation fees involved.

                Is it best to buy the freehold of my house instead?

                Very often buying the freehold of your house is a good idea because it rules out the need for house owners to pay service charges or ground rent.

                Buying the freehold is also likely to increase the value of your home and allows you to make repairs without consent. Buying the freehold can be expensive though, and not all leaseholders will be able to do it.

                What will extending the lease on my house cost?

                The cost of lease extensions vary depending on the property and the length of the lease. When it comes to house leases, you do not need to pay a fee to the freeholder like you do with flat lease extensions. You will have to cover the freeholder’s legal fees as well as your own. This can add up but it is still usually cheaper than purchasing the freehold.

                Will my ground rent arrangements change?

                Ground rent will usually go up following a lease extension and will come into effect once the current lease expires. The new amount will be based on the property value at the time of the extension and can go up again after 25 years. If an agreement over the rent payments cannot be reached a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT) may be needed to fix an amount.

                My lease has ended – what now?

                Once your lease runs down, you technically cease to be the house owner and instead become an assured tenant paying rent to the freeholder who in effectively becomes your landlord. In this situation you will still have rights as an assured tenant but these will not be as extensive as the rights of a leaseholder.

                You may find that you are capable of negotiating informally with the freeholder to extend your lease however they will be under no obligation to grant the extension or even negotiate. You therefore need to get legal advice as soon as possible because if your lease runs down you may lose your financial stake.

                Extending the lease on my house – Do I need a specialist solicitor?

                That’s a really easy question – the answer is yes. You need to appreciate that very few conveyancing or property solicitors come across lease extension more than once in a blue moon – and sadly, in our experience, many solicitors with little experience of lease extension work, struggle to do a good job for their clients when it comes to extending a lease. When you add in the fact that leasehold houses are relatively unusual these days [though I was surprised to find when researching for this blog, that there are estimated to still be around 200,000 houses in England and Wales which are owned under a long leasehold, though many of these are very expensive properties based in central London] – and far less common than leasehold flats, you understand why when looking to arrange a lease extension on your house, whether it’s your home or the property is rented out, you really do need a solicitor who knows what they’re doing.

                Our lease extension team do nothing but lease extension and enfranchisement work – so you can rely on them to provide you with the advice you need.

                Thinking of extending the lease on a house? We can help

                Our lease enfranchisement and lease extension solicitors can help house owners with lease extensions of leasehold enfranchisement. So, if you are a house owner looking for expert legal advice:

                • Call us now us free on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544, or
                • Complete the contact form below.

                  Lease extension team completed

                  Bonallack & Bishop’s Lease Extension team welcomes another new member as the department continues to expand. Laura Russell has worked in the firm’s Salisbury office since 2006 and is moving to our Lease Extension department having impressed during a spell training with the Residential Property team.

                  Trainee Solicitor Laura will work alongside Samantha Davies and our other new recruit, Niki Luther, to help leaseholders and freeholders with leasehold reform matters such as lease extensions, collective enfranchisement and the Right to Manage process. After graduating from Solent University with a law degree in 2004, Laura completed the Legal Practice Course in 2009. She has already excelled in different roles with the firm’s Commercial Litigation and Personal Injury departments and is currently in the latter stages of her training contract. During her seat in Residential Property, Laura demonstrated her ability to build strong relationships with her clients and developed a good understanding of property law.

                  Senior Partner Tim Bishop said of the change, “Laura has proved highly adaptable during her time working with Bonallack & Bishop and has all the skills needed to add value to our burgeoning Leasehold Extension team”.

                  LEASE EXTENSION – WE CAN HELP – CALL US NOW

                  For specialist advice you can rely on when extending your lease;

                  • Call our experts on 01722 422300, or
                  • Get in touch using the contact form below.

                    Bradford Lease Extension Solicitors

                    Leaving it too long to extend your lease can lead to massive expense in the long run so it is important to start the process sooner rather than later. If you live in Bradford and you are looking to extend the lease on your flat, the dedicated lease extension team at Bonallack & Bishop can help.

                    LEASE EXTENSION – APPOINTING AN EXPERT IS CRUCIAL

                    Your lease extension solicitor will need to understand the complexities of lease extension work and be aware of the various deadlines involved. Furthermore, your solicitor will need links with expert surveyors who will value the lease. These things require expertise and as a result it is crucial that your lease extension solicitor is a specialist.

                    Whilst the vast majority of landlords are very respectable, you may find yourself locked in negotiations with an unscrupulous landlord. If your lease runs below 80 years it costs far more to extend it and some landlords will attempt to stall negotiations so that the lease runs below this critical period. Lease extensions experts will recognise such scheming and be able to apply to a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal if necessary.

                    EXTENDING A LEASE – INSTRUCT ONE OF OUR SPECIALISTS

                    The word ‘specialist’ is bandied about a lot these days so it can be difficult to work our whether or not a solicitor genuinely specialises in lease extension work. We can take the guesswork out of choosing a lease extension solicitor because we are accredited experts. As well as being members of the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners we are featured acknowledged as experts on Leasehold Advisory Website.

                    What’s more, we have a four strong team who only do lease extension, leasehold enfranchisement and right to manage company work – nothing else!

                    CONTACT US TODAY FOR EXPERT LEASE EXTENSION ADVICE TO TRUST

                    We act for clients throughout England and Wales. Our clients need not be able to meet us in office because we can see your lease extension through from start to finish, keeping in contact through Skype, email or over the phone.

                    So if you are considering a lease extension in Bradford, for a free quote, to receive initial advice or to arrange a consultation, simply dial 01722 422300, or email us using the contact form below: