Extending lease below 80 years advice needed

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    Extending lease below 80 years advice needed


    We're currently in the process of getting our lease extended. Unfortunately it's fallen below the critical 80 year mark to 78 years. As a result of this were now being quoted a lump sum payment of £30-35,000 to extend our lease another 90 years.

    We've been told we have to pay this in a lump sum payment to our freeholder. Firstly, is this correct? Or can we pay in stages?

    Secondly, we've done quite a lot of research into this and understand we need both a solicitor specialising in lease extensions, and a lease extension surveyor. So far we have narrowed it down to a solicitor charging £1250 for approaching the freeholder through the formal process, and £400 for leaseholder surveyor costs. These are the best prices we could get in London... and we had to haggle seriously.

    Note: we are going through the formal process of extending our lease (as opposed to approaching our freeholder directly) as we have had serious disputes with our freeholder in the past and cannot tryst him to follow due process.

    So our last question is, do these fees sound reasonable? And can anyone recommend a good leasehold extension solicitor AND/OR surveyor in London ?

    We got ours off the RICS website so assume everything should be OK?

    We also have a lady downstairs who wants to extend and understand we could reduce our costs if we got her involved in the process.

    Any help or advice appreciated,

    Kind regards,



    That price sounds very steep to me. A fellow resident just added 99 years to her 66-year lease for £28k all in, including legal fees for her and the freeholder. Are you in a flat or a house?


      What does the £1250 include? If the extension is quite straightforward and the FH and you can agree the premium then £1250 is reasonable, however if there is protracted negotiation and an application to the FTT is needed to determine the premium it could be significantly more.

      You will also be responsible for the FH reasonable legal costs. Realistically I would budget £5k to cover your own and the FH legal fees.

      There is no requirement for the FH to allow you to pay in instalments and would need the full amount paying before granting the extension, you will also need to pay 10% of the premium upfront.


        I cannot comment on the premium for your extension without knowing what your ground rent terms are and what the long leasehold value of your flat is.

        You mention that the flat is in London but if it is an area that is regarded as 'Prime Central London', then the premium you would need to pay would be higher than if the flat is not in Prime Central London. The solicitor and valuer fees that you have been quoted sound about accurate to me and (as already mentioned) you are required to pay your freeholder's legal and valuation costs as well as your own.

        No, you cannot pay the extension premium in instalments. If finding so much cash in one go is an issue, perhaps you can re-mortgage the flat to cover the cost of the extension (assuming that there is enough equity remaining in the flat).


          Originally posted by 16smrlandlordzone View Post
          We also have a lady downstairs who wants to extend and understand we could reduce our costs if we got her involved in the process.
          I have just noticed the part about another leaseholder who also needs to extend her lease!

          Instead of extending your respective leases, might it be worth clubbing together to buy the freehold via collective enfranchisement?
          1. What is the composition of the building?
          2. How many 'units' are there?
          3. Is it all flats or are there some shops/offices?
          4. What is the ratio of flats to shops/offices?
          5. Does anyone else in the building require a lease extension?
          Depending on your answers to these questions, you may be entitled to force the sale of the freehold to yourselves - which could work out far cheaper than you all separately extending your leases.


            Hi guys,

            Thanks all for your replies, this forum has been a great help to me over the years, both for support and information - and relies on you wonderful folk helping out so much.

            In terms of the flat, its in Zone 2 - central london, ground rent is 150 GBP per year. Its a flat - not a house. Victorian conversion, 4 units - all similar size, no offices, 2 of the flats have a lease extension recently 2 require one.

            The other leaseholders have enquired about buying the freeholder, but weve done some research and found that its going to cost about the same in terms of legal work and expense to buy the freeholder as it is to extend the lease, and quite frankly were not all sure we want the work of managing the building - especially as were leaving soon, and the building is facing increasing maintainance issues. The stress just doesnt seem worth it unless we were planning on staying there another 5-10 years.

            Weve also asked around and several surveyors and valuers have told us that whether we buy the freehold or extend the lease, that its not going to add much to the value of the property.

            Were pretty much set on extending the lease, as weve been informed the freeholder is likely to decline to sell the freehold, with the possibility of more legal work and expenses along the way it just doesnt appeal to us... we want to get out and move in the next year or so.

            The fees we quoted are the most competitive we could find, there is the possibility if we club together with our neighbour that we can reduce them slightly but she's unsure when she wants to do it.

            Does anyone know of a good/competitive surveyor and leasehold solicitor? Weve heard good things about 'foundation surveyors' in london, but every time we call we get a strange lady at the other end who barely speaks english.

            If anyone knows of a good surveyor or solicitor in or around london we'd really appreciate a recommendation?

            Kind regards,



              Just as a further question to our last post... does anyone know the criteria by which we should be judging the surveyors? There are so many in London and we have called over 12.. they all seem the same with the bigger ones quoting more and the smaller ones quoting less.

              Out understanding is the its the SURVEYORS responsibility to DEAL WITH and NEGOTIATE with the freeholder and his legal team as regards the final amount to be paid and the lease extension itself... so to us (although the cost at 4-500 GBP is cheap), its the surveyor that seems like the most important person to employ and get right. CORRECT?

              Are there any questions we should be asking these surveyors to determine whether they are right for the job or not? We have had conflict with our freeholder before so we think we are going to need a good surveyor and legal team behind us to get this through smoothly.

              We have cross referenced a few surveyors from the RICS website that also have good reviews online and on google (listed below)

              - Foundation surveyors - 5* (7 reviews)

              - Barnes & Barnes Surveyors Ltd - 5* (7 reviews)

              - Harding Chartered Surveyors ( 5* - 4 reviews)

              - Peter Barry Surveyors (9.1/10 - 204 reviews on trustpilot)

              - Castles Surveyors Ltd (4.7 - 34 reviews - reallymoving, checkprofessional)

              - Arnold & Baldwin Chartered Surveyors (5* - 14 reviews google)

              - Bentley Pugh & Associates Ltd (5* - 5 reviews)

              - Architects Corporation Ltd (5* - 13 reviews)

              If any of you have heard of any of these or used them before, or can recommend them, please let us know.

              Again, any help appreciated on this,

              Kind regards,



                You have advised that the other two lessees in your block have extended - were these done under the same freeholder and what was their experience

                if it was straight forward it may be worth approaching the freeholder to see if you can do a deal outside of the Act. I assume you know what the correct figure is

                at 78 years I would expect the premium to be around 4% of the value of the flat .The flats value assumes the flat is in good order.


                  If not too far away , get a quote from Woodward Estate Agents, Harrow on the Hill . They have a surveyor doing lease extension.


                    In post No. 8 , our expert , sgclacy has estimated the cost of lease extension at 78 years to be 4% of flat value. If the lump sump sum payment demanded by your FH is £30-£35,000 then your flat may be valued at between £750,000 to £875,000.

                    Is your flat really worth this much ? If the current market value is less , then you would pay less for lease extension .


                      The process for the other lessees I believe was straight forward.the difference is that we have had conflict with our fh and have been advised by a friend solicitor not to go down the informal route as he thinks our fh will just pick a ridiculous figure and charge us a fortune to extend the lease.

                      The flats been valued at around £500000. And the lease extension valued at 28-35k.

                      Again our understanding is the its the surveyors responsibility to deal with and negotiate with the freeholder and his legal team as regards the final amount to be paid and the lease extension itself.. it seems like hes the most important person to employ and get right?

                      Should we be asking a prospective surveyor questions like, do you know the area? How many clients have you had etc? Or are they all effectively doing the same job and going through the motions?



                        When we gained the freehold of our block we used a surveyor recommended by the specialist enfranchisement solicitor. His recommendation was based on his personal knowledge of the surveyors previous work and successful negotiation/prices/agreement. I don't think he was necessarily the cheapest but he was known to be successful at what he did on behalf of the clients.


                          The premium, unless the ground rent in you flat is very large or has u usual review patterns will I suspect be around the £20k mark

                          however your costs and that of the landlords (but you are only liable for certain aspects of his costs) could climb to £10k or possibly more if there is no agreement and you have to go to the FTT

                          you advise the property is in Zone 2 so you will probably agree the deferment at 5% in line with Sportelli . I less the ground rent is very large or rises aggressively it will make little difference at 6.25 % the figure you may advance compared to the landlords who at worse would value it at 5%.

                          As regards relativity again the most the experts will differ in is a couple of percentage points when the term is 78 years

                          Why not serve the Sect 42 notice at the correct figure and send a covering letter on a without prejudice basis offering more but on the basis that they complete the deal within 6 weeks paying £1500 towards their legal costs - I have done it the other way round in my capacity as a landlord and it has always been taken up - I pitch a figure that is fair on the basis of no legal or valuation fees and enclosing the draft deed for them to get on with. The lessee pays less overall as no professional fees on my side for them to pay and their own professional fees are less as it is non contentious. I get more -and move on to others thing quickly - the only losers are those who wish to generate fees arguing making lease extensions are a complex ritual dance which it isn’t especially in this case when the term is 78 years


                            Hi sgclacy,

                            You certainly sound like you know your stuff. Thanks for all your replies.

                            Are you suggesting, despite our ongoing conflict with the freeholder over other issues, that we still approach the freeholder directly? Without a surveyor and without a solicitor?

                            Could you explain in lamans terms the process you are describing?

                            Again we are concerned if we approach the fh directly that he will see it as an opportunity to recover fees he still thinks we owe him and escalate into more conflict.



                              RIGHT.. so we've just got off the phone after two hours of calling 12 surveyors. The quotes for surveying the cost of lease extension all appear to be in the 400-500 + VAT mark. Several points were made:

                              1. Most lease extension valuers say the majority of their clients go the FORMAL route to extend their lease and very few go the informal route.
                              2. The majority of surveyors have told us that if we go the informal route, the freeholder is very likely to play games with us as lessees and try to negotiate the best deal FOR HIM, adding in clauses like increases in ground rent and sitting on the case until we have to re-apply - which would increase his premium in the long term.
                              3. We have also been advised by several well reviewed surveyors that given the past conflict with our freeholder and the fact he still thinks we owe him money, that it is not advisable to go the informal route.
                              4. Overall we get the impression that there are just so many variables we dont fully understand, and given the past conflict with our freeholder feel we really do need professional hands on this that can hold the freeholder and his solicitors to task if need be.

                              This is our impression from over two hours of speaking to multiple highly reputed surveyors all over London. What does the forum think about the above? Is there anything we are missing here?

                              We really do imagine that the informal route is for lessees that have an almost 'family' like relationship with their freeholder, and cant imagine a freeholder agreeing to a lower figure than normal for lease extension if they think they can get more (especially if they still feel they are 'owed').

                              Our only reservation is that we have read we can save thousands (sometimes 10's of thousands) by trying the informal route.

                              Presumably will be a 'market value' that can be agreed upon by eveyone, given the current ground rent, the lenth of lease, and value of property after lease extension?

                              We're really just looking to save as much as possible in this deal. So our thinking is the following:

                              1. Get the solcitor to serve the section 42 notice asap (this will freeze the lease term so the cost of extending doesnt go up any more)
                              2. Either pay a valuer (or make a proposition through our solicitor ) for an amount we think we should pay / would be happy to pay. This would be in the form of a formal letter from our solicitor (not from us directly), but wouldnt involve paying a valuer for negotations at this stage.
                              3. a) If the freeholder agrees to our suggestion, then we just pay a solicitor to go over the terms and finalise the lease and complete.
                              3 b) If the freeholder wants a much higher figure than our original proposition - only THEN do we pay a valuer to come in and value our property and negotiate the price down with the freeholder.

                              Any comments / advice on our above thinking/strategy would be much appreciated!

                              Thanks again for all your kind and helpful posts!



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