If your home is leasehold then what you effectively have is an agreement to occupy your home for a certain number of years paying ground rent but do you realise when the lease ends the freehold landlord gets the property back and you become a statutory tenant?   


To delay this the current law gives people in flats and maisonettes a right to have an extra 90 years and the ground rent alters to a peppercorn (zero) and for people in a house or a bungalow you can buy the land under your feet!  In other words acquire the freehold. This restores value as well as making the property easier to sell because purchasers face difficulty in obtaining a mortgage on many leasehold properties, especially if there are less than 70 years left on the lease.

Government plans to change the law on leasehold property but if you have a house or bungalow it appears that the valuation methodology may change but you ought probably not to delay to buy the freehold since it appears the price will alter little for the vast majority of houses we deal with in the West Midlands region come under the original valuation method which is the most advantageous system to house holders. Usually the longer you leave it the worse it gets because the general rule is:

                             the shorter the lease - the higher the price

You will need the services of a good solicitor too, but if you don't already have a solicitor we can probably recommend one, but that's entirely your choice. We do not work on referral fees from solicitors so we are independent and professional.

Sadly your lease is a wasting asset and as its term reduces so does the value of your flat, bungalow, house or maisonette. The extent of this is not fully appreciated in the early years because the decrease in value is generally offset by property market increases. However, when you have less than about 70 years it is more difficult to obtain a mortgage - thus difficult to sell, except to cash buyers who usually pay a lot less!

An extension to your lease or acquisition of the freehold reverses this process and the full value of the property can be restored to you! This is the main reason people deal with their leases. Remember the longer you leave it the more expensive it becomes - unless Government gets a move on with changing the law on extensions to flats and maisonettes by abolishing marriage value which they have pledged to do! The problem is we do not yet know when these new laws will come into being. I recommend you to lobby your local MP about this because it's taking too long for the laws to change.

Lease extensions or the need to buy the freehold can take several months from start to finish so do not delay if you are planning to move and thus do not let your lease hold up your move.

Extending your lease or buying your freehold is therefore important because it will help to restore value to your home, provide you with more security and should add more value than the cost of the exercise.