Mark Chick of Bishop & Sewell LLP has recently had an article on this subject published on Leasehold Life.
“The above article deals with an interesting question and one that comes up more often than you might think. At Bishop & Sewell LLP, we have particular experience of advising in relation to properties in Central London, particularly on the ‘Great Estates.’ Often, we are looking at a property that has been in the same family for many years, or that has been owned by an elderly relative. There are a number of points to consider and doing nothing is not an option, particularly if you want to preserve the right to extend the lease, or to participate in a freehold purchase.
The Estates in general are aware of their rights to terminate the lease towards the end of the term and will often take proactive steps to prevent secure occupation arising or with a view to obtaining possession of the property. If you are in this situation the time to act is ideally well in advance of the last 2-3 years of the lease, although (subject to rights and provided that the landlord has not taken any steps to prevent this) the lease can be extended by launching a claim to a new lease right up to the day that the lease is due to expire. There are of course, massive valuation considerations to be taken into account and we can assist in guiding on this point and we are able to recommend suitable expert surveyors to work with on this. There are a number of tactical and practical considerations (as well as financial).”
The landlord and tenant team at Bishop & Sewell LLP can help advise further if you are looking at a property with a very short lease, or if you or a friend or relative that owns one and are considering what to do. If you would like to get in contact to discuss further please email or telephone 0207 631 4141 and ask to speak to a member of the Landlord & Tenant Team.