So, you’ve finally found a place you’re comfortable with. The neighborhood is good, no leaking pipes and no creepy noise are coming from the walls at night, and just when you thought it couldn’t get any better than this, you realize that your next rent review is only around the corner, potentially threatening your idea of settling down for a bit. Now that will make you think about how to negotiate a Lease Extension so you can still retain your property while spending less on the cost of a Lease Extension.
But don’t worry. Not everything has to be sad and gloomy. At LeaseholdValuations.com we hold your hand through the complicated lease extension maze and keep you up to date along the way, making the whole process much less stressful and run smoothly.
If you don’t know how much does it cost to extend a lease, there are various ways you can find that out, which we will discuss further.
When do you negotiate?
There are two ways you can approach this.
- You could take the traditional approach where the leaseholder serves the Section 42 Tenant Notice, which is followed by the Section 45 Counter Notice from the freeholder where they usually decline the amount suggested and put forward their premium. Negotiations happening at the Section 45 Notice stage involve solicitors, surveyors, and additional expenses that they bring with them.
- You could choose the alternate method where negotiations happen before the leaseholder serves the Section 42 Notice. In this case you’re in direct contact with the freeholder or the management company, you can directly write to them stating your intentions of extending the lease and see if they’re open for negotiation. This saves costs that you would normally pay solicitors or surveyors at the Section 42 stage.
At this point, they would either agree to your terms or present you with their own offer, which you can compare with our online valuation calculator. If they end up ignoring you, you still have the option of taking the traditional approach and serving them the Section 42 Notice.
You may serve your own Section 42 Notice, but it is a good idea to instruct a solicitor to do it for you because serving a Section 42 Notice is critical, and any errors can allow the landlord to apply to the court to have it dismissed.
Get an RICS Lease Extension Valuation before serving the Section 42 Notice because specialist RICS surveyors can perform a precise valuation of the property and give you a good estimate of how much you should be willing to offer the freeholder to extend the lease while staying in the confines of the Leasehold Reform Act.
Using an online Lease Extension Calculator
There are ways you can calculate your premium online using an online Lease Extension Calculator, which can give you a rough idea of how much the premium is going to set you back. But remember, it only gives you a rough idea because the calculator will give you an amount depending on what data you have input. The freeholder has the right to raise an argument that you are not qualified to value the property and to give any offers based on your valuation.
In circumstances where you do proceed with serving a Section 42 Notice based on a value obtained from an online calculator, the freeholder may ask you to still get the leasehold valuation performed from a qualified RICS Surveyor. This may again add cost to your budget, so proceed with caution.
Open up a dialogue as soon as you can
It is a good idea to establish direct contact with the freeholder and work out a deal that works for both of you. Start discussing your terms early on because the earlier you begin a conversation, the more time you have to convince the landlord and also find out if the landlord is amenable to a deal or not. Get in touch with them directly and try something like, “I have received an online valuation which shows that the premium should be less than you are offering. Can we discuss this and find something that we are both happy with?” This can open up your opportunity to discuss your terms with the landlord.
Establishing contact with the freeholder before serving the Section 42 Notice will open up a discussion and will give the freeholder an idea of the kind of premium that you have in mind. Depending on their response, you can judge whether they are willing to bend or not. This can help you further down the line when finalising the deal.
This might not help if the freeholder you’re dealing with is a large company because they usually only respond to formal notices to extend the lease.
Serving a Section 42 Notice
Based on how your pre-section 42 notice negotiation goes with your freeholder, you may now ask your solicitor to serve a formal Section 42 Notice for a lease extension. However, keep the following points in mind before including an amount in the offer.
a) Don’t offer too low: If you offer an impractically low amount, the freeholder may outright reject your offer and claim that your offer is invalid due to it not being “bonafide” or “realistic” So, choose an amount that’s reasonable, and that gives some room for a discussion
b) Don’t offer too high: Obviously, the freeholder is looking for the highest amount possible, and by offering an amount that is too high, you’re leaving no room for negotiation. Consider this a missed opportunity to settle on a reasonable premium.
The best way to go about this is by putting forward an offer that is somewhere in the middle of the lowest and the highest premium received from the surveyor’s valuation.
Receiving a Section 45 Counter Notice
If the freeholder accepts your offer, it’s all sorted. But if they don’t accept the offer, they will propose a revised counter-offer, which will be contained in the Section 45 Counter-Notice. Now depending on how much different the Counter-offer is and how much you’re willing to deviate from your original offer, there are two possibilities.
If the counter-offer proposed by the freeholder is not significantly different from your original offer and is not setting you back by a huge amount, you may proceed with finalizing the deal. Also, if the difference in the amount is not worth spending extra money on your surveyor for negotiating with the freeholder, you may accept the offer and close the discussion.
If you feel the difference amount is too high, you can get your surveyor to negotiate your lease extension. The negotiation will take place between your surveyor and the freeholder’s surveyor to reach a common ground while comparing both their valuations. Remember that the hourly charges for negotiations are remarkably high, and you may end up paying more money for negotiating than the actual difference in premium. So, compare them wisely before going ahead.
So, consider your budget, what exactly you can afford, and how far you’re willing to go to turn the deal in your favor.