Lease Extension Is the Key to Peace of Mind; Stephen Prichard, a Partner in the Residential Professional Department of Property Agents CPBIGWOOD, Examines Issues Surrounding Lease Extensions for Flats. PROPERTYEXPERT PROPERTYEXPERT

Article excerpt

Byline: Stephen Prichard

To satisfy the demand for housing during the post war years a huge number of ?ats and maisonettes were developed in the Midlands during the 1960s and 1970s.

At this time it was the aspiration of everyone to own rather than rent their home and ?ats and maisonettes were particularly attractive to those joining the housing ladder, young couples, older couples looking to downsize, and those who were single.

A major attraction of ?ats is that the ms aintenance, repair and cleaning of the external areas together with gardening is dealt with by the freeholder or the management company with the ?at owner paying a service charge.

During the 1980s and 1990s there was a further boom in the building of apartments and this accommodation additionally played a major part in satisfying the newly found demand from buy to let investors.

Flats in the Midlands are typically sold subject to 99 year leases and hence the leases of the ?ats built in the 1960s and 1970s now only have 50-60 years remaining unexpired and even the leases of the apartments built in the 1980s and 1990s now only have around 70 years remaining.

Prior to the credit crunch of 2007/2008 mortgage lenders were generally happy to lend providing the lease had 50-60 years remaining unexpired.

The lending requirements of mortgage providers are, however, now much stricter and they commonly require the lease to have at least 70 years remaining. Additionally, a purchaser of a ?at will generally expect the lease to have been extended as a condition of proceeding with the purchase of the property. …