Q. My lease on my apartment is now what I consider to be low at 76 years. I have looked into having it extended and it is going to cost in the region of £10,000 quite honestly money I would rather not be spending. Do you think as a leaseholder I shouldn’t worry about this or gather the money together and try to get it extended?
A. If the lease on your property is short, and you have not been offered the chance to buy the share of freehold you will need to act to extend the lease before it drops below say 85 years is my usual recomendation, but why is this so important? Basically as the lease length reduces, a lease extension will become more expensive, saleability will be effected and selling or obtaining a mortgage will become more difficult. If you qualify and have served the correct notice, your freeholder must grant a lease extension for an additional 90 years at nil ground rent. Given the long term ramifications I think it would be difficult to ignore the situation and not proceed with an extension for so many reasons. Even if you are not intending to sell it will affect your re-mortgage potential. And if you are going to sell at some point not only will buyers be put off by a short lease and even if they are not they will then almost certainly have difficulty obtaining a mortgage. To cut to the chase extending your apartment lease improves value and protects your valuable asset, but the process can be complicated. Do make sure that you have all the facts before proceeding and ensure that you hire an expert solicitor in this field, having a professional negotiating the lease extension for you will ensure you have the correct legal documentation upon completion that you will require later on down the line should you wish to sell or re-mortgage, this will prove invaluable as a variation in the original lease granted could cause issues especially with a future sale if the documentation is not drawn up correctly. On the grander scheme of things this may cost you now but will pay back in dividends later.