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Extending lease on a share of freehold flat - advice needed

(10 Posts)
evertonmint Tue 12-Nov-13 12:38:02

DH and I have just had an offer accepted on a flat. The estate agents are awful sharks and I don't trust them as far as I can throw them so I need a bit of impartial advice.

The flat we are buying is a share of freehold with a 71 year lease. The condition on our offer was that the lease would be extended by the vendor. It may be that we can't get a mortgage without the extension anyway so they need to do this.

The vendor has said he will do this and get us a 999 year lease but that it will take 6 weeks to do this which takes us to Christmas Eve before we can even start the purchase process (we are not really willing to do much on the flat purchase before that point as I don't really trust the estate agents not to get us gazumped). Or we can try to find a mortgage that will allow us to buy on a 71 year lease and they will knock £1k off the asking price which we can then use to extend the lease once the property is ours. As I understand it, because the flat comes with a share of freehold the lease extension should only be a few hundred pounds of legal costs rather than £000s like it would be with a leasehold flat.

We are fine with waiting the 6 weeks. The flat is a BTL, no chain so we don't want to exchange/complete before Christmas and then have a void period before we can rent it. But, we don't want to hold on for 6 weeks to find that the estate agents are actually trying to get a better offer or one that gives them more money in the deal.

Does it really take 6 weeks to extend a lease under these circumstances or are they playing us for time? And are we best waiting, or should we proceed with the purchase, saving £1k, and then arrange it ourselves? And is extending the lease on a share of freehold a formality of just a few £100 legal costs, or does it have scope to run into £1000s and take months? Any thoughts?

Thank you!

evertonmint Tue 12-Nov-13 12:41:56

If it helps, the flat is in a purpose built block of flats, and we would be required to pay £70pcm service charge on it.

evertonmint Tue 12-Nov-13 16:43:26


Quodlibet Tue 12-Nov-13 16:49:01

Personally I would get them to extend the lease while they have an impetus to do it. You could otherwise be left in a very exposed position if they renege on the agreement/never get round to it. Share of freehold can get very complicated.

In house buying terms 6 weeks is nothing - you'll inevitably get held up for that amount of time somewhere anyway.

evertonmint Tue 12-Nov-13 17:09:53

We're definitely getting them to do it - don't want the hassle myself!

Does it really take 6 weeks to do this? Everything I've read says it's fairly straightforward where there is a share of freehold so wondering if the 6 weeks is them spinning a yarn.

domesticslattern Tue 12-Nov-13 17:17:58

Definitely do not pay a penny until this is sorted.

threeisatragicnumber Thu 14-Nov-13 15:34:53

Yes, 6 weeks is normal.

evertonmint Thu 14-Nov-13 18:31:03

Thanks three smile

SuedeEffectPochette Thu 14-Nov-13 23:04:02

Just because it is a share of freehold doesn't mean it will be cheap for you to extend the lease. sure, if all the others have 71 year leases they will all agree to extend them all to 999. However, if everyone else has already extended to 999 and you have 71, they will be asking you for a lot of money that will then get shared around.

evertonmint Fri 15-Nov-13 13:10:52

Thanks. We have now definitely agreed that the costs will be born by the vendor rather than us - I definitely don't want to be liable for this, particularly as it is their asset to sell so they need to make it saleable smile

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