Leasehold valuation tribunal – Things you should know about LVT

What is the Leasehold valuation tribunal Or LVT? 

The Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT) has been renamed First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) (FTT) and is a statutory court in England that determines different types of landlord and tenant conflicts involving residential property. The FTT usually consists of a panel of three; one with a background in property law (usually a solicitor); one with a background in property valuation, generally a qualified surveyor; and a layman, although some decisions of the FTT are decided by a single member. The FTTs are indeed non-departmental public organizations. 

What is covered by the FTT’s jurisdiction? 

The FTT has wide-ranging jurisdiction over all aspects of a residential property including service charge determination, variation to long leases, the premium payable for a lease extension or freehold purchase and appointments of managers for buildings that are not managed properly. The FTT has the power to provide landlords with dispensations from compliance with the law. A few examples are: 

  • Deciding the price be paid by leaseholders compulsorily acquiring either the freehold of houses or lease extensions of property or collectively exercising the right to buy the freehold of a collection of flats.
  • Evaluating how much service charge is payable.
  • Granting landlords exemptions from compliance with statutory consultation on service charges. 
  • Assessing the appropriate level of fees charged by landlord’s for lease extensions
  • The appointment of managers and receivers for flats improperly managed

How does the FTT differ from the County Court process? 

The FTT is a more informal and less adversarial arena. The FTT provides a more open platform to discuss the dispute among the parties and has limited authority to grant costs. 

Secure the future of your property with Leasehold Valuations.Leasehold Valuations in Slough UKSecure the future of your property with Leasehold Valuations UK

How to apply to a First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber)? 

You can collect a form from your local First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) office or the leasehold advisory services website. Before submitting a request, make sure you have taken all the previous steps and are ready to submit the final application. For example, if you want to appoint a manager for the property or building, you usually have to give the freeholder a certain notice before submitting the application. Other sources of assistance are the Leasehold Consultancy Service, a solicitor, a citizen’s advice office or other advice centres in your area can help you with the procedure and guide you through the application. 

How do First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) work? 

First-tier Tribunals are formed by a panel composed of three members: a solicitor, a valuer and a non-expert. It is independent and unbiased. It is a kind of judicial hearing, but less formal than a court. It is important to get professional help and their perspective before you proceed as the proceedings can get quite complicated and the formalities that need to be adhered to are quite confusing at times. 

The leaseholder or the freeholder can take their problems to the First-tier Tribunal. The First-tier Tribunal offices are not the only place to hold hearings. They can be held near your address and are often open to the public in offices of the local council. You should go to a hearing in the first place, before planning to apply to a First-tier Tribunal to resolve a dispute. Your regional First-tier Tribunal office can tell you when and where the next hearing regarding your issue will take place. 

How long does the FTT process take? 

This depends on the amount of supporting documents, the nature of the final application and the availability of the Tribunal. As an example, it usually takes four to six months from start to finish for a simple application for a determination of the reasonableness of service charge. 

What happens at a First-tier Tribunal hearing? 

You need to gather the evidence before the hearing. Based on the information provided by you and the Freeholder, the First-tier Tribunal will take all submissions into account and make a decision. Both parties will have the opportunity to present their side of the story. The First-tier Tribunal mostly asks questions, and you will have the opportunity to ask your side of questions to the freeholder and any witnesses. You may need to wait a few weeks after the hearing before a written decision comes through the post.  Many First-tier Tribunals have waiting lists. 

What if you don’t agree with the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal’s decision? 

You may appeal when you think that the decision of the First-tier Tribunal is incorrect. This is normally only possible when the First-tier Tribunal has acted inappropriately or has not followed the correct procedure. You cannot apply simply because you don’t accept the decision. 

How much does a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal cost? 

Application cost ranges from £ 300 to £ 500. If you win, the First-tier Tribunal may be decide to award all costs to one side but this is rare. If more than one leaseholder is affected by the problem, you can apply and share the costs.

Why Leases Are For a Set Number of Years?

Freehold Property” and “Leasehold Property” are the two common terms of real estate that you must have encountered while buying any property. The basic meaning of this term, or how the former refers to this Freehold term, is properties that are “free of hold” by any third party or entity. Leasehold properties are leased for a certain period, e.g 99, 125 or even 999 years from the time of construction. 

But, why is there an unusual number of years? Why 99 years? Or, What happens to the property at the end of the lease? Who receives ownership after the lease is over? Or what are renewal conditions applicable in all these situations?  

Someone who buys a leasehold residential or commercial property will own the property only for a set period of years, after which the property is returned to the landowner. The buyer of the leasehold property is expected to pay fixed ground rents to the landowner. Under certain circumstances the lease can be extended after the lease period is over.   

What happens upon the expiry of the lease? 

The property is returned to the freeholder or the next entity up the chain of ownership (e.g headlessee). 

Secure the future of your property with Leasehold Valuations.Leasehold Valuations in Slough UKSecure the future of your property with Leasehold Valuations UK

The XX-year lease concept 

The lease begins with the date the property is handed over to the leasehold purchaser. The lease is based on an agreement contained within a document.  The developer is then allowed to build and sell residential or business premises. These properties will be owned by the buyers only for XX years (e.g 99, 125, 999) and after the end of lease duration the landowner can claim back ownership. In addition, the landowners get ground rent in accordance with the lease agreement every year for the duration of the lease. 

The lease contract contains both the lessor’s and lessee’s rights and obligations in respect of property occupancy, in exchange for a specified rental charge. The terms and conditions are all contained in the Agreement, such as the nature of rights, leasing periods, leasing rights, conditional clauses, the termination clause, etc., All these are essential for sustaining any lease and dealing with any dispute concerning the lease in future. 

The purpose of setting a fixed term time is to control both the use and the transfer of land. This period was viewed in earlier days as a safe interval, as it covers the leaseholder’s lifespan. It was also considered as a reasonable length of time to protect the owner’s ownership. 

Some facts about leasehold property 

  • The length of a lease can be extended by paying a premium to the freeholder.
  • Developers tend to favour developing flats on a leasehold land because the expense of these plots is cheaper than freehold properties.
  • Banks do not like to finance the purchase of a leasehold property, particularly if the remaining lease period is under 70 years. As the lease approaches the end of the lease period the value of such properties also falls. 

Buying an old leasehold property 

Leasehold properties are always more affordable than freehold property and may be purchased as an investment. 

The shorter the remaining time of the lease the cheaper the property is to purchase compared to similar properties with longer lease lengths remaining. However, a payment (premium) must be paid to the freeholder in order to extend the leas and this amount varies widely depending upon location, type of property, how many years remaining and ground rents payable. 

For properties with less than 70 years remaining it is very difficult to get mortgages from banks and so it is usually necessary to extend the lease before you can get a mortgage. 

If you are selling a short lease property you will most likely only be able to attract cash buyers for this reason and so you will be forced to sell it for less.

Why there are two types of ownership in the UK – leasehold and freehold?

You are likely to encounter the terms ‘leasehold’ and ‘freehold‘ when you buy property in the UK. These are the two main types of ownership of property which are followed in the UK. This terminology can be the difference between a home worth buying and one that isn’t.  

This very confusing and legal technical term basically means how you own the property. If you own the property and land it stands on free from any involvement of the third party then you are Freeholder of that property or house. And if you have any kind of agreement with the owner of the property to use that house for a certain period of time with terms and conditions and ground rental charge then you are the Leaseholder of that property and you have rented that property from the Freeholder. 

When you are in search of any property, you really want to know what type of ownership you are buying but many estate agents tend to gloss over this ownership fact and sometimes refrain from telling the buyer what type of building they are selling until much later in the process. And even across the internet, there is no clear information about what ownership type the property falls under.  

Leasehold instead of freehold in the UK 

It would be unfair to say that all or most of the property, house, buildings, or flats are held on leasehold instead of freehold. Across all over the UK, there are different systems for managing the property and it can vary from area to area and also depends on what type of property it is. If you find a stand-alone house in the UK to buy you are most likely to find it under Freehold.  The majority of houses in the UK are freehold although there are still many on leasehold. Almost all flats in the UK are held on leasehold ownership (although a block of leaseholders may collectively own the freehold of their block). 

Flats are usually leasehold because there must be some way to own the ‘shared’ land underneath the flats, but it is common for flat owners to own a freehold share when buying the flat. If you are buying a flat that’s what you want! You would like to become a shareholder in a ‘holding’ company owning the underlying land and organizing maintenance when you buy the flat.

Secure the future of your property with Leasehold Valuations.Leasehold Valuations in Slough UKSecure the future of your property with Leasehold Valuations UK

Why Leasehold? 

The reason why most land is held on the leasehold is from history. For centuries the Crown, Church or Duke of Westminster or other major landowners owned the underlying land. Instead of selling the land outright, they sold long leases to people who wanted to build: building owners had a lease on the land they could sell along with the property, and there was usually a ‘ground rent’ going back to the leaseholder. 

Keeping the history aside, the reason for these strange arrangements (and we’re talking about England here) is that the history of land ownership has indeed been uninterrupted for a very long time. It actually goes back to the Norman Conquest and the sharing of various Lords from Baronial lands. Since then, legal precedent and land ownership have evolved in confusing, unusual ways. 

Some leases are long and often run for 200 to 999 years, causing relatively little issue. Ground rents are often very small, sometimes because of centuries-old contracts that did not even permit for inflationary increases! But on the other hand, if a lease is running for a long time or the ground rent is high, it can make a property fall in value and be difficult to sell. 

As time passes, the Freeholder of land increases the ground rents and many charges on new lease agreements. As a result, since WWII successive governments have given leaseholders more rights over free-holders (people that own the foundational land).  Even rights like owning the leasehold property from freehold. 

For example, if 50% of qualifying leaseholders in a qualifying block of flats  agree, then they can force the freeholder to sell them the freehold so it can be held in common by the owners of the flats. They have the legal right to purchase it. However, they obviously have to compensate the freeholder for taking his property. 

Why does the Leasehold system still exist? 

The leasehold system exists because there are situations where it would not be possible for everybody to own the freehold of their property. For example, every flat owner in a block could not own the freehold of their particular flat as isolation to the other fellow leaseholders. A flat owner on the second floor of a block of flats cannot own the land under his flat – that would be somebody else’s flat. In addition flats have common areas be it just a staircase or also a car park and gardens. How would these areas be maintained? 

Therefore, a leasehold system is crucial in maintaining a healthy property market. 

It has become common for developers in the last 10-20 years to try to retain an interest in a house by selling it on leasehold. By increasing the “ground rent” in line with traditional inflation, they try to cash in on rising property prices, every 5 or 10 years. This is a scam.

Step by step guide to buying a freehold

Buying a property or buying your own house cafreen be an overwhelming or exciting feeling, but buying a dream house can be an intensely stressful experience as well.  If you’ve bought a flat the chances are you’ve been sold a leasehold property. 

The UK leasehold-freehold structure is now entrenched in our housing market. Traditionally all stand-alone buildings are freehold, while most apartments and flats are leasehold. There is a very minor streamline difference between these two and buying the exact property that you were looking for can be hard. Yet, many property owners do not take time to learn the comprehensive knowledge of this perplexing system. And with all this confusion you may wonder if you can buy your property’s freehold and how you can go about buying the freehold. 

Should you buy the freehold property? 

The basic question arising before any purchase is that should you buy the freehold of your property? Most people or apartment owners are always happy to purchase property on leasehold terms. However, in certain situations, you may decide that you want your own property. Reasons could be anything from the fact that you want more control over your block and, in a particular case, where you are spending money. Or you are just tired of your freeholder’s unfair ground rent rises in the contract and have to pay excessive rates for the building services. In this stated situation, it is not unusual for leaseholders to try to purchase the property’s freehold so they can leave stress behind. 

 Here are a few reasons for buying your freehold. 

Reduce long-term costs – The freeholders of the property have control over service charge rates and the total cost of management. You will also find that your flat’s insurance can be decreased. 

No restrictions – Often, leasehold contracts come with a whole series of terms and conditions to be adhered to by the leaseholder, from allowing pets and many more but  once you will have freehold property all the restrictions can be lifted. 

Increasing the flat ‘s value – When your lease period drops below 80 years, it can be more costly to extend the lease and purchase the freehold. However buying the Freehold is worth doing, to maintain or increase your flat ‘s value. 

Secure the future of your property with Leasehold Valuations.Leasehold Valuations in Slough UKSecure the future of your property with Leasehold Valuations UK

What type of property should you look for? 

If you go for a flat it will be sold either as a leasehold or share of the freehold. There is no practical reason for houses to be sold on a lease basis. Our advice would be to purchase the freehold as soon as you are eligible. 

Buying the freehold of your block of flats will require the involvement of most of the other leaseholders in the block. You will not be able to purchase the freehold of the whole block by yourself. You’ll still have to contribute towards service charges of the building but you’ll be able to have more control over how much the charges are. It is worth noting that if you have a flat and you own a freehold share, you still have a lease. Nevertheless, you should be able to extend it for free without any cost and it will be from a new entity owning the freehold. 

Purchasing the freehold can be very difficult, therefore many people simply extend the lease and carry on with their freeholders. To help you through the process, we’ve pulled together questions and legal guidance articles that will guide you through the key points of purchasing your property and help you to make the right decisions. Here is a step by step guide to buy Freehold property. 

Buying the freehold of Flats or apartments 

Buying a flat and apartment includes several steps and you may need help from others in terms of support and legal advice. 

Check you’re eligible 

There are a number of requirements that you will need to meet in order to be able to purchase your freehold. The most simple rule or requirement is that for more than two years you must have been an owner of a leasehold apartment. Then the other sets of criteria can vary from place to place. 

Speak to your neighbours 

Your next step should always include some of your fellow residents and convincing them to buy along with you. As to purchasing the freehold, at least two thirds of the leaseholders must be “qualifying leaseholders”. At least half of the building’s leaseholders need to participate in the purchase. Convincing them can be relatively easy to do if you and other building residents are all currently paying extortionate ground rents or your freeholder always seems to be choosing the most expensive choice when it comes to building services. 

Find out the cost of the freehold 

You need to figure out how much this is going to cost you. It’s hard to give an estimate as the price of the freeholds varies as much as the price of the house. You’ll need to get detailed market valuation from a surveyor. The one thing you should always keep in mind is that the shorter your lease or short duration lease, the more expensive the freehold will be. 

Get a solicitor 

It is important to take expert advice before buying any property. Not every solicitor will have expertise in Freehold purchases so it is important to find one that specializes in this area. Take advice from a chartered surveyor who specialises in leasehold enfranchisement who can give you a clear understanding of the size, the distribution among the residences, the problems and whether or not the building is suitable. 

Sign a participation agreement 

Next you should draw up an agreement on the participation of every apartment involved. The last thing you want is for someone to drop out at the last moment, raising the cost for everyone else or even falling below the amount of 50 percent who are ready for the purchase. An agreement for participation is basically a contract for all leaseholders involved in the acquisition and outlines all matters among participants – including items such as the conditions for lease extensions once the freehold is acquired. 

Set up a limited company 

The collective purchase of a freehold includes additional responsibility including establishing a limited company. It includes the filing of accounts, the selection of a nominee buyer, a group communications manager and elected supervisors. If you want to become a director, consider taking out directors’ insurance to protect yourself from liabilities.   Your lawyer will help you with everything above. 

Seal the deal 

The solicitor or Valuer can sometimes informally approach your freeholder with an offer if they agree, which can also immediately reduce your legal costs. If that doesn’t work, you’ll have to officially issue a notice that every leaseholder must sign – this is binding. 

The freeholder then has to serve a counter notice within two months. Negotiations then take place between your surveyor and the freeholder’s surveyor, to try to reach an amicable agreement as to price. If agreement cannot be reached on a suggested price then you can take your case to the First-Tier Tribunal, which is the arbiter of such disputes and will decide the price which both leaseholder and freeholder have to agree to. 

Buying the freehold of your house 

In general, buying a freehold house is more simple than buying for a flat because you can act alone and you don’t have to convince someone else. You will need to hire a qualified leasehold solicitor and obtain a professional valuation to make a bid via the solicitor to the Freeholder of that property. 

If you can’t agree on a figure or the discussions hit a dead-end then you can take it to the First-Tier Tribunal just as with the agreements of flats freehold. The First Tier Tribunal will decide the final price.

Calculating Lease Extension Premiums and Marriage Value

Lease extensions play a crucial role in maintaining and maximizing the value of leasehold properties. When considering a lease extension, it is essential to understand how the premium is calculated and the concept of marriage value. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the parameters used to determine the premium, the significance of the valuation date, and how marriage value affects the overall compensation for both leaseholders and freeholders.


Calculate Initial Leasehold Extention Cost with Our FREE Online LEASEHOLD EXTENSION CALCULATOR

Calculating the Premium

The Capitalization Rate:

The capitalization rate is a critical parameter used in premium calculations. It is the rate at which future ground rents payable by the leaseholder are discounted to present value. A lower capitalization rate results in a higher premium and vice versa.

The Deferment Rate:

The deferment rate is another vital element in the premium calculation. It is the rate at which the value of the property is discounted to present value. The deferment rate considers factors like the remaining lease term and future potential of the property.

The Relativity:

The relativity is the ratio of the property’s value with a short lease term to its value with a long lease term. It is crucial in determining the premium, especially in cases where the lease term is shorter.

Ground Rents:

The premium calculation takes into account the ground rents payable throughout the existing lease term. The frequency of ground rent changes is considered to arrive at an accurate premium amount.

Understanding the Valuation Date

Importance of the Valuation Date:

The valuation date is the date on which the leaseholder serves the section 42 notice to the landlord for a lease extension. It determines the remaining lease length and is critical in assessing the marriage value, particularly when it approaches or drops below 80 years.

80-Year Threshold and Marriage Value:

When the remaining lease term drops below 80 years, the landlord becomes eligible to claim marriage value in addition to the premium. Marriage value is the difference between the property’s value before and after the lease extension. It is shared between the freeholder and leaseholder, with the leaseholder receiving 50%.

Secure the future of your property with Leasehold Valuations.Leasehold Valuations in Slough UKSecure the future of your property with Leasehold Valuations UK

Calculating Compensation for Lease Extension

Total Value Calculation:

The purpose of the valuation is to determine how much compensation the leaseholder needs to pay to all superior interests for the loss they incur due to the lease extension. This compensation allows the leaseholder to extend their lease by 90 years and reduce the ground rent to negligible amounts.

Discounted Ground Rents:

The ground rents are discounted using the capitalization rate to assess the investment value for superior interests. This calculation accounts for the financial loss they may incur due to the lease extension.

Deferment Rate for Freehold Value:

The freehold value of the flat is discounted using the deferment rate, considering factors like the property’s market potential and other property-specific aspects.

Example of Lease Extension Premium and Marriage Value Calculation:

Let’s consider a hypothetical scenario where a leaseholder, Sarah, wants to extend her lease, and the remaining lease term is 85 years. The ground rent payable is £200 per year, and the property’s value with a short lease term (85 years) is estimated at £400,000. The relativity factor is 0.9, and the capitalization rate is 5%. The deferment rate is 6%.

Step 1: Premium Calculation

            Calculate Discounted Ground Rent:

                  Discounted Ground Rent = Annual Ground Rent / (1 + Capitalization Rate)^Number of Years

                  Discounted Ground Rent = £200 / (1 + 0.05)^85 ≈ £40.66 per year

            Calculate Freehold Value with Long Lease Term:

                  Freehold Value = Property Value with Long Lease Term / (1 + Deferment Rate)^Number of Years

                  Freehold Value = £400,000 / (1 + 0.06)^85 ≈ £54,852.21

            Calculate Total Premium: 

                  Total Premium = (Freehold Value – Discounted Ground Rent) x Relativity

                  Total Premium = (£54,852.21 – £40.66) x 0.9 ≈ £49,348.80

Step 2: Marriage Value Calculation

            Calculate Property Value with Long Lease Term:

                  Property Value with Long Lease Term = Property Value with Short Lease Term / Relativity

                  Property Value with Long Lease Term = £400,000 / 0.9 ≈ £444,444.44

            Calculate Freehold Value Before Extension:

                  Freehold Value Before Extension = (Annual Ground Rent x Number of Years) / (Deferment Rate x (Number of Years + 1))

                  Freehold Value Before Extension = (£200 x 85) / (0.06 x (85 + 1)) ≈ £141,414.14

            Calculate Marriage Value:

                  Marriage Value = Property Value with Long Lease Term – Freehold Value Before Extension

                  Marriage Value = £444,444.44 – £141,414.14 ≈ £303,030.30

Step 3: Apportionment of Marriage Value

                  Sarah (Leaseholder) receives 50% of Marriage Value: 50% of £303,030.30 ≈ £151,515.15 Freeholder receives 50% of Marriage                             Value: 50% of £303,030.30 ≈ £151,515.15


In this example, the premium payable by Sarah for the lease extension is approximately £49,348.80. Additionally, the marriage value of the lease extension is approximately £303,030.30, which is shared equally between Sarah and the freeholder, resulting in Sarah paying £151,515.15 as her portion of the marriage value.

Lease extension calculations can be complex, and it is crucial to seek professional advice from experts in leasehold valuations to ensure accurate assessments and fair negotiations. Understanding the calculations involved empowers leaseholders like Sarah to make informed decisions and secure the long-term value of their leasehold properties.

What are the various figures that form part of the premium calculation?

In this blog we will be highlighting the figures that form part of the overall premium calculation and explain what each are and how they contribute to the overall level of premium.

The main figures that contribute to the level of premium calculation are:

Capitalisation rate – This is essentially the percentage rate that an investor would be willing to accept, by way of return, if he were to invest in a security providing this level of income.

So, for example, if an investor was offered an income of say £50 per year for life, how much return would he want in return for purchasing this investment? Generally the lower the income the higher the return an investor would expect. Therefore, by comparison an investment offering say £100 per year for life would command a lower percentage return than the previous example.

Deferment rate– This is the rate at which a future value should be discounted to the present day to calculate what that value would be worth today.

For example, if a property had a lease of 50 years remaining on it then in theory the landlord will receive the property back in 50 years’ time and he could then do whatever he liked with it. Let’s assume this same property was estimated to be worth £100,000 in 50 years’ time. If the landlord wanted to sell this property to somebody else today so that they would then receive the property back in 50 years’ time an investor would not pay £100,000 now, as he would effectively make no profit on the resale in 50 years’ time (and in fact will lose money if inflation is taken into account). So the deferment rate reduces the future value of the money by an appropriate percent to allow for what an investor is likely to pay.

The deferment rate has a hugely significant effect on the level of premium and so is very important. Due to its significance there has been much case law in this area and it has now been decided that generally the deferment rate for flats is 5% and for houses it is 4.75%. However, there has also been caselaw where slightly different rates have been applied and so it is important to seek professional advice.

Secure the future of your property with Leasehold Valuations.Leasehold Valuations in Slough UKSecure the future of your property with Leasehold Valuations UK

Relativity – This percentage rate is also hugely significant to the overall level of the premium. The relativity is basically the percentage that a property with a lease of less than 80 years would be in comparison to the same property with a lease of more than 80 years remaining.

This is probably the matter that causes the most disagreement between the landlord’s and leaseholders’ surveyors.

A number of graphs of relativity have been produced by various surveying firms over the years but there is still no consensus on exact values. Although relativities are similar for properties with similar lease lengths remaining they are usually within a range of values which is what causes the disagreements. There are also different values for properties within Prime Central London and outside which also causes further problems when negotiating as it can be very subjective as to which graph(s) are relevant in any particular situation.

Value of property – There are two values that are important here. The value of the property with a long lease (in excess of 80 years) and the value of the property with a shorter lease (less than 80 years). Ideally it is best to find comparable evidence for both of these levels, in order to support the valuation, but in reality it is very rare to do so. This is why the relativity is so important, as providing one of these values is known, then the relativity can be used to calculate the other value.

It should also be noted that under the relevant legislation – Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993” for flats and “the Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act 2002” for houses – any improvements undertaken at the leaseholder’s expense should be discounted from the value of the property. This is where the valuation for lease extension purposes differs to an estate agent’s valuation. An agent will value the property as it stands, with all fixtures and fittings, whereas a surveyor valuing for extension purposes must disregard any such improvements and the property should be assumed to be in a reasonable, habitable condition.

Ground rents – This is what the leaseholder pays the landlord each year as rent. It is not the same as the service charge. It may stay the same for the whole term of the lease or it could change regularly. As an example, the ground rent may be £50 for the first 33 years, £100 for the next 33 years and £150 for the final 33 years. Another example is that the ground rent could change according to a formula. For example the rent could change every 25 years by RPI.

Marriage value – This is an additional value added to the premium if the remaining lease length is less than 80 years. It does not apply to lease in excess of 80 years. Basically it is the difference between the values of the leasehold and freehold interests in the property after the proposed extension and the situation before the extension.

Why does the leaseholder have to pay a premium to the landlord?

The leaseholder has to pay the freeholder (and if applicable the headlessee(s)) something (known as the premium) to compensate them for the loss of their investment.

This is better explained as follows:

The freeholder purchased the property as an investment in order to make money. They initially received the purchase price of the flat, when they first sold the original lease on the flat. The headlessee would have the same reasons for purchasing a lease from the freeholder and then sub leasing to the leaseholder. The price the flat originally sold for would have reflected the length of the lease (a longer lease of say 999 years being more expensive than one of say 99 years). As such the freeholder and headlessee would have expected the flat back after the lease expired. If they are now going to be denied the flat back at the expected date they should rightly be compensated for this as if they had sold the flats with a longer lease in the first place they would have received more money.

It is this premium that we at Leasehold valuations calculate for you and negotiate with the landlord on your behalf.

Does he just pay the freeholder or also the headleaseholder?

As explained above, anybody who has an interest in the property above the leaseholder should be compensated for their loss due to the proposed extension of the lease. The level of compensation will depend on how long they own the property for before it passes onto the next level up.

For example, in some cases once a lease ends the headlessee will only hold the property for 3 days before their lease is also extinguished and the property then reverts to the next person up the chain. In this case the headlessee will not receive much of the share of the total premium as the value of the headlease is limited (ie only 3 days so cannot let it out or sell it on). However, in some cases the headlease may continue for many more years (100+ years) in which case they could sell another lease in it or rent it out and so the proportion of the premium they receive will be much higher.

Secure the future of your property with Leasehold Valuations.Leasehold Valuations in Slough UKSecure the future of your property with Leasehold Valuations UK

In the same way if a headlease is very long (say 999 years) then the freeholder will not get the property back for a very very long time and so he will receive a very small proportion of the premium and the parties between the leaseholder and the freeholder will get the lion’s share.

The manner in which the premium is “shared” between the relevant parties will be calculated by your valuer. This should be clearly explained and broken down in the valuation you receive.

At Leasehold Valuations we provide 3 valuations accompanied by a very detailed report which explains every aspect of the valuations to you along with some background to put it into perspective. Due to the complexity of the valuation we are always at hand to provide any further assistance we can to help you understand the valuation better along with the various options open to you. We hope this will help you make an educated decision on how you wish to proceed.

Please refer to our case studies to see how successful we have been when we have had to go to tribunal and helped our clients achieve fantastic results, in some cases saving them over £1 million but in most cases saving them many thousands.

Please contact us for free, no obligation, advice. Call: 01753 542984 or use our Contact form

Who are the various people involved in a lease?

There can be a number of parties involved in a lease.

At the top of the ladder is the freeholder who ultimately owns, not only the building, but also the site the building is sitting on. He/she will be the person/company who will legally eventually get the property and site back when all of the leases have expired. Of course in reality the leaseholders will probably keep extending their leases whenever possible and so the freeholder may never actually get the property back.

The next rung down in the ladder is the headlease. This is simply a lease like any other where the lessee leases the whole building/flat/house from the freeholder.

There can then be a number of underleases, again which are like any other lease but which are each successively slightly shorter than the lease above them (sometimes by as little as 3 days or as large as many years), and then the lowest rung on the ladder is the bottom lease. It is usually this bottom lease that is requesting the lease extension.

If there are so  many people involved in the chain of ownership who can give the right to extend?

Because the leaseholder is extending his lease by another 90 years the “competent” landlord is the one who holds a lease which expires after the extended lease will do so.

Secure the future of your property with Leasehold Valuations.Leasehold Valuations in Slough UKSecure the future of your property with Leasehold Valuations UK

So for example, if you have 40 years left on your lease you will end up with 130 years left on your lease after extension. If there is a head lease which has more than 130 years remaining on its term then only they can offer you an extended lease. The freeholder has no say.

If there were a number of leases in the chain of ownership then the first one that expires after 130 years will be the “competent” landlord.

Can the freeholder refuse to extend the lease?

In the majority of cases the freeholder cannot refuse a qualifying tenant to extend their lease.

However, there are exceptions to this rule and the most common is probably if the freeholder wishes to redevelop the property or use it for their own residence (although this is very rare). In either of these cases it is only possible for short leases.

For example a freeholder cannot claim to wish to use the property for his own accommodation if there are 50 years left on the lease. It would simply not be possible for him to prove that in 50 years’ time he definitely needs the property for his own personal needs. However, he could prove this if there was only 5 years remaining.

Redevelopment is slightly different because a freeholder could own an estate with 100’s of flats on it. In this case it may be possible for him to show an indication that in 20 years time the estate will be demolished and replaced with something else, although this would still be difficult to prove. Therefore, he could raise an objection to the lease extension when only 20 years are remaining.

This would also be the case for a very long headlease. It is not unusual for a head lease to have a 950 year term and then grant underleases for 125 years, thereby having over 800 years remaining on the lease when the underleases are due to expire. In this case the head lease could also show an indication of redevelopment of the estate in say 20 years time.

We, at Leasehold Valuations, have the knowledge, experience and much more to support you and will guide you through this process and the expertise to fight your case as vigorously as it deserves from initial valuation to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber)– (if required).

Please refer to our case studies to see how successful we have been when we have had to go to tribunal and helped our clients achieve fantastic results, in some cases saving them over £1 million but in most cases saving them many thousands.

Please contact us for free, no obligation, advice. Call: 01753 542984 or use our Contact form.

Process Involved In Extending My Lease in UK

This third blog in a series of blogs attempting to explain in layman’s terms the process of extending your lease, whether for a flat or house. Please see our previous blogs in this series and also all other blogs which are intended to help you understand this complex piece of legislation.

How much does it cost to extend my lease?

There are 2 main fees payable in the lease extension process. One is to the surveyor and the other is to the solicitor. However, you as the leaseholder are legally obliged to pay also for your landlord’s “reasonable costs”. So not only do you have to pay your own surveyor’s and solicitor’s costs you also have to pay your landlord’s surveyors and solicitor’s costs. These costs must be “reasonable”.

Secure the future of your property with Leasehold Valuations.Leasehold Valuations in Slough UKSecure the future of your property with Leasehold Valuations UK

Although fees vary across regions and firms a rough estimate for surveyor’s costs would be £700 – £950. We believe “reasonable” solicitor’s costs would be in the region £700 – £1,200.

What is the process involved in extending my lease?

The process for lease extension basically is as follows: 

  1.           You need to get a valuation so that you know what figure to enter in your initial notice to your landlord. The valuation is usually undertaken by a surveyor. Where an intermediate or superior lease is involved there may be an additional charge as this additional interest makes the valuation a bit more complicated.
  2.           Once you have received your valuation, you need to instruct a solicitor to serve an initial notice on your landlord requesting the lease extension.
  3.           Once this notice is served the landlord has 2 months within which to serve their counter notice stating at what price they would be willing to extend your lease.
  4.           Once this notice has been served the surveyor then begins negotiations with the landlord’s surveyor in order to agree on a premium which will be payable to extend your lease. We have a time limit of 6 months in which to agree.
  5.           Once the matter is agreed your solicitors will complete the extension.

What happens if the two surveyors cannot agree to a premium?

If agreement cannot be reached within 6 months, then either party has the right to apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) (formerly known as the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal) to have their case heard. A tribunal usually consists of 2-3 professionals with at least 1 surveyor and 1 legal professional both with relevant knowledge of the matters to be heard.

If the matter is referred to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) then additional fees will be payable.  

The First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) is the court equivalent to property related matters.

The First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) will firstly issue directions, with strict timescales, to both parties on what they want each of their professional advisers (solicitors and surveyors) to do. If these timescales are not adhered to the Tribunal can take that into account when asked to award costs.

Each party therefore needs proper professional advice to guide them through this maze of regulation and, firstly, to try and avoid a full hearing (thereby saving costs for their clients) but also to fight their client’s case as vigorously as possible if a full hearing becomes necessary.

Some professionals will claim to know how to deal with leasehold matters when in reality they have very little experience or knowledge.

We, at Leasehold Valuations, have the knowledge, experience and much more to support you and will guide you through this process and the expertise to fight your case as vigorously as it deserves from initial valuation to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber)– (if required).

Please refer to our case studies to see how successful we have been when we have had to go to tribunal and helped our clients achieve fantastic results, in some cases saving them over £1 million but in most cases saving them many thousands.

Please contact us for free, no obligation, advice. Call: 01753 542984 or use our Contact form.

How to extend your lease in the UK?

This second blog in a series of blogs attempting to explain in layman’s terms the process of extending your lease, whether for a flat or house. Please see our previous blogs in this series and also all other blogs which are intended to help you understand this complex piece of legislation.

Which legislation covers the extension of a residential lease or purchasing the freehold of a block of flats?

There have been many statutes that govern issues surrounding flats and houses over the years. The current ones that are relevant are “Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993” for flats and “the Commonhold & Leasehold Reform Act 2002” for houses.

Who can apply for a lease extension?

In order to exercise your rights under either of the above statutes you now only need to have owned (not necessarily lived in) the property for at least 2 years.

How long can I extend my lease for?

Although you are free to agree to any extended term between freeholder and leaseholder the default positions, in the absence of agreement, are as follows.

Secure the future of your property with Leasehold Valuations.Leasehold Valuations in Slough UKSecure the future of your property with Leasehold Valuations UK

For a flat you can extend your lease for an additional 90 years (e.g if you currently have 67 years left on your lease your extended lease will end up with 157 years on it).

For a house you can extend your lease by 50 years (so using the example above your extended lease will end up with 117 years on it).

What are the qualifying criteria?

As mentioned in our first blog certain criteria have to be met in order for you to qualify to have your lease extended.

For flats:

          You have to have owned the flat for at least 2 years;

          Your ownership of the flat must be held  under a qualifying lease;

          A qualifying lease is one that is for a fixed term of at least 21 years;

          The property which you wish to extend must be a “flat” as described under the definition;

For houses:

          You must be the tenant of the whole house unless you are already the freeholder of those parts of the house of which you are not the tenant.

          A qualifying lease is one that is for a fixed term of at least 21 years;

          You have to have owned the house for at least 2 years.

          Your rent must be classed as a “low rent”. The definition of this is quite complex and so please contact us for further guidance.

What rent do I end up paying after the lease extensions?

Regardless of what ground rent you were paying before the lease extension for a flat your rent will decrease to effectively NIL.

I say effectively because under the legislation the ground rent reduces to a peppercorn which is equivalent to £1 per year but landlords very rarely charge this as it become uneconomical to do so.

For a house extension your rent will change to a “Modern rent”. A “modern rent” is the market rent as on the date of valuation for the site (not including the house or any other buildings on it).

The method of valuing this “modern rent” is extremely complicated and so please contact us for further advice if required

Free Consultation

Call 01753 542984 for a FREE 10 minute consultation on your lease
extension or freehold purchase.

Leasehold Valuations

Grab Your FREE Consultation with Leasehold Valuations

We could save you £XXX. Why not have a free 10 minute consultation?