Leasehold flats can be in purpose-built blocks, in converted houses or above commercial or retail premises.
The leasehold ownership of a property usually relates to everything within the four walls of the flat, including floorboards and plaster to the walls and ceiling, but does not usually include the external or structural walls. The freeholder usually owns the structure and common parts of the building and the land it stands on. The freeholder is then responsible for the maintenance and repair of the building. The costs for doing so are recoverable through the service charges and billed to the leaseholders.
A lease is a contract between the leaseholder and the landlord giving conditional ownership for a fixed period of time - the 'term' of the lease. This will usually be for 99 or 125 years and the flat can be bought and sold during that term. At the end of which the property will revert to the freeholder. It is difficult to change the conditions of the lease after you buy, so it is important to make sure that the services provided for and the obligations imposed in the lease are those that you want or can accept.
Leasehold Enfranchisement is the process by which leaseholders buy the freehold of their block of flats. Freehold ownership gives leaseholders control over repairs, service charges and management decisions.
If you are unhappy with how your block is managed, then you may wish to consider buying your freehold.
As a lease gets shorter the value of the lease decreases and it becomes more expensive to extend the lease. This is why it is often a good idea to increase the term of the lease. Sometimes it is difficult to sell a property with a short lease because mortgage lenders may be reluctant to lend money on such properties.
A Leasehold Extension is a legal agreement that extends the term of the lease. The lease extension document should name the parties to the agreement, provide the dates on which the extension begins and ends, and reference the earlier agreement that is being extended. Lease payments do not have to remain the same under a lease extension.
The right provided by the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (as amended) is for the grant of a new lease for a term of 90 years, plus the present unexpired term.
Allow us to help you through this process with trusted and friendly advice to ensure everything is managed successfully and in a straightforward, timely manner. Please feel free to contact us to discuss your individual requirements further.