Leasehold Reform and Litigation: Now is the perfect time to extend your lease

As a surveyor working in the Leasehold Reform & Litigation team, my job is to protect the value of your property making it more marketable when you want to sell. How do I do this? I work out what price someone should pay to extend their lease or buy the freehold.

In my first blog, I discussed the possibility that house prices in Prime Central London could rebound by 8% next year according to Knight Frank Research. I also spoke to Richard Fulchiron in Knight Frank Finance about the current mortgage market which is looking a lot more positive for borrowers. So why else is now a good time?

The Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act 2002 has made the system of extending your lease or collectively enfranchising, a lot fairer. What’s the benefit you might ask? Well extending your lease under the Act means that you are entitled to an additional 90 years added to your original lease term at a peppercorn ground rent.

This means that once you have undergone the process of extending your lease or acquiring the freehold, you can have peace of mind that firstly, the value of your asset is no longer diminishing at the same rate as one under or close to the 80-year threshold. Secondly, you will no longer have to pay a potentially unappealing and escalating ground rent to the freeholder, and thirdly, if you decide to sell your property, it will be far more marketable.

Additionally, under the 1993 Act, as soon as the Section 42 Notice (the leaseholder’s notice) has been served, the valuation date is frozen to the date of the notice. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about a moving valuation date and the value of your asset continuing to diminish. Now is a great time to extend your lease, because the law is on your side.

So, how can you get started? Last year the Leasehold Reform & Litigation team at Knight Frank went paperless. Not only is this beneficial for the environment but this has also meant that despite working from home, our day to day work is largely unaffected. The good news is that under government guidelines, we are now able to inspect properties and have undergone extensive training on how these must be carried out in compliance with government regulations, including undertaking a risk assessment prior to inspection and wearing mandatory PPE.

If you would prefer for us to undertake a desktop valuation and inspect your property at a later date, this is also not a problem.

Trusted solicitors who we work with regularly are still able to access the relevant documentation online, such as your lease or Land Registry documents, meaning we are able to proceed with your claim straight away and solicitors can serve your Notice without delay. Therefore, your claim will not be disrupted by the current situation.

If you are a leaseholder or a freeholder with a claim, or if you require any additional leasehold or expert witness valuation advice, contact the Leasehold Reform & Litigation team today.