Lease Extensions during Lockdown

06/04/2020

With the lockdown still on-going, the legal world has begun adapting to the new landscape.

In this article we are looking at how statutory lease extensions are able to be completed during the lockdown.

Survey

Typically, the first step in the lease extension process is to have a survey carried out to indicate the likely premium to be paid to the landlord in connection with the lease extension.

With home visits no longer possible, surveyors are offering surveys based upon the title deeds of the property and details from the lease. This is pre-conditioned with the proviso that the report cannot be relied upon as complete until an inspection has occurred.

In addition, the Leasehold Advisory Service Premium Calculator is able to give a general estimate for initial consideration purposes of the premium payable. This figure can be calculated based upon the following information:

  • The value of the property after the lease extension has completed;
  • The current ground rent; and
  • The expiry date of the lease.

A combination of the above can give tenants a good idea of the likely premium payable and what figure to specify in their Section 42 Notice.

Service of Notices

​Usually, notices served in relation to statutory lease extensions are required to be served by post with strict timeframes for a response. The Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners has published guidance recommending that for the duration of S.55 of the Coronavirus Act 2020, the following protocol should apply:

  1. Flexible timeframes should be agreed for responding to notices;
  2. Service of notices by email should be agreed to be effective; and
  3. The above should be documented in a written agreement between the parties.

First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) Applications

​If the terms of the lease extension cannot be agreed within six months of service of the counter notice, an application to the Tribunal to determine the disputed terms can still be made. The application will protect the lease extension from being disqualified due to the passage of time.

Currently, the Tribunal is taking longer than usual to process applications, however in six months time it is hoped that the Tribunal will be back to normal.

How Pinney Talfourd can help

Pinney Talfourd have experienced and specialist solicitors who regularly deal with the lease extension process, challenging extension claims, and representing clients in the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).

We are fully set up to work remotely and are able to advise you as normal during these challenging times.

Pinney Talfourd is an established member of the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP). This means that we are trusted and accredited solicitors who can offer expert advice. It also means that we have access to a network of vetted professionals who we can assist with every stage of your matter.

The above is meant to be only advice and is correct as of the time of posting. This article was written by Oliver-James Topping, Solicitor in the Property Litigation Team at Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of April 2020.

06/04/2020

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