Source: The Guardian.com 31/01/22
Q I need advice on extending the lease on my flat. I have owned the flat for sometime and am ashamed to say I have done nothing about the lease as I didn’t realise it was a problem until I started looking for a new mortgage.
I share the freehold with the lady who owns the flat upstairs. Does this make it any easier? I have no idea how to go about this and all I hear is how it is going to be incredibly expensive. Please help.
A All you hear about the lease extension process being incredibly expensive is not necessarily true. If all the other freeholder owners – or, in your case, the other co-freeholder – agree to your proposed lease extension, according to Niki Adkins, an associate and leasehold specialist at Frettons solicitors, the only expenses involved are legal costs and Land Registry fees. “As you would effectively be granting a lease extension to yourself as freeholder,” Adkins says, “there would usually be no premium (price) payable for the extension.” So yes, if you can get the agreement of the lady upstairs to extend your lease, it does make it easier and simpler.
If she won’t agree, you can still extend your lease but the process is more complicated and you could end up having to pay a premium for the extension in the same way as you would if your were just a leaseholder (so not a part-freeholder as well) wanting to extend a lease. For more information on doing that and when you are able to, go to the Leasehold Advisory Service.
As well as getting the agreement of the lady upstairs, you should also get your lender’s agreement but this is very unlikely to be a problem as a lease extension will improve the value of the property, which is the bank or building society’s security. If everybody is happy, what usually happens, Adkins says, is everyone agrees to “a freeholder’s lease to be extended to 999 years with the ground rent – if any – officially being reduced to a peppercorn rate”, ie nil.