What is a Leasehold?

Leasehold flats can be in purpose-built blocks, in converted houses or above commercial or retail premises. They will also include maisonettes, which term is, generally, used for flats with their own separate entrances.

Leasehold ownership of a flat is simply a long tenancy, the right to occupation and use of the flat for a long period. This will usually be for 99 or 125 years and the flat can be bought and sold during that term. The term is fixed at the beginning and so decreases in length year by year. If it were not for inflation, the value of the flat would diminish over time until the eventual expiry of the lease, when the flat returns to the landlord (although an assured tenancy would then become a possibility).

The leasehold ownership of a flat usually relates to everything within the four walls of the flat, including floorboards and plaster to walls and ceiling, but does not usually include the external or structural walls. A garden can be included unless it is a communal garden for the building. What the leaseholder owns is often defined in the lease as the Demised Premises. The structure and common parts of the building and the land it stands on are usually owned by the freeholder, also known as the landlord. The freeholder is, normally, responsible for the maintenance and repair of the building. If so, the costs for doing so are recoverable through the service charges and billed to the leaseholders. The landlord can be a person or a company, including a local authority or a housing association.

The Process to Extend Your Lease

As the lease to a property becomes shorter it depreciates in value. Prospective buyers may overlook purchasing your property because the lease it too short. Lenders also require a minimum term on a lease for a prospective buyer to secure a mortgage.

There are two ways you can overcome the short lease problem, and these are set out below.

The Formal Approach

The Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (“the Act”) provides leaseholders with the right to extend their Lease; subject to certain qualifying criteria being met. A formal valuation will be required which will ascertain the cost to extend that lease. You will need a conveyancing law firm to organise the lease extension and liaise with the Freeholders solicitor. The legal fees are based on the complexity of the lease extension and usually start from £850 plus VAT.

The Informal Approach

If you do not want to go down the formal route you can approach your Freeholder informally to see if they are willing to grant a lease extension. However, please be aware that this may not result in the best deal for you. You also need to be aware of unrealistic ground rents which the Freeholder may require you to enter into as part of the ‘deal’.  The ground rent increases may seem suitable now, but they can be detrimental in the long run making your property unmortgageable or unsaleable in the future.

We have a specialist team with a wealth of experience in this area. We can provide you with more details about the process and a fee estimate without obligation.

Please contact one of our team who will be happy to assist you and make the process as seamless and stress-free as possible.

Unfortunately, sometimes when a marriage breaks down things can get complicated. Divorce itself can be a painful process as not only are emotions high, but the legal proceedings can sometimes seem endless. The decision to separate is never easy and is life changing, but with the correct advice and support throughout, the process can be less daunting.

Once the decision has been made to divorce proceedings can be commenced at any time provided that you have been married for over one year and that one partner is domiciled or habitually resident in England and Wales.

Divorce Grounds

The only ground for divorce is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and to establish this one of the following five facts must be relied upon:

  1. Your spouse has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to continue living together; or
  2. Your spouse has behaved in such a way that it would be unreasonable to expect you to continue living together; or
  3. Your spouse has deserted you for a continuous period of two years or more; or
  4. You and your spouse have been living separately for two years or more and your spouse agrees to the divorce; or
  5. You and your spouse have been living separately for five years or more.

Divorce Process

The spouse issuing the divorce proceedings is called the Petitioner whilst the spouse to receive the Divorce Petition is called the Respondent. The Petitioner must submit a Divorce Petition to the Court with the original marriage certificate and a court fee which is currently £550.00. If there are children of the marriage, then the Petitioner must also submit a Statement of Arrangements about the children to the Court with the Petition.

The Court will then issue a Notice of Proceedings to the Respondent and request that they complete and Return an Acknowledgment of Service within 7 days confirming whether they wish to defend the Petition. If a Respondent does intend to defend the Petition, they must file a defence called an Answer within 28 days of receipt of the Petition.

If the Respondent does not intend to defend the Petition, the Petitioner then files a statement in support of the Petition and applies to the Court for the Decree Nisi. A Judge will consider the papers submitted and if satisfied that the ground for divorce is made, they will certify that the Petitioner is entitled to a divorce and will fix a date on which the Decree Nisi will be pronounced. Neither party needs to attend Court for this pronouncement.

Once the Decree Nisi has been granted, the Petitioner may apply for the Decree Absolute after six weeks and one day has passed. If the Petitioner does not apply for the Decree Absolute, then the Respondent may do so three months later. The Decree Nisi is then made Absolute and the marriage is dissolved.

If you find yourself in need of advice our Family Department has the resources to help you no matter what the issue arising as a consequence of the breakdown of your relationship.

The Law Practice (UK) Ltd is fortunate to have offices based in prestigious and historic locations around the United Kingdom, one of which in Elstree, Hertfordshire. Elstree is a village in the Hertsmere borough of Hertfordshire. It is approximately 13 miles northwest of central London.

Elstree is perhaps best known for the Elstree Film Studios, where several famous British films were made. Studios have been located here since film production began in the area during 1914. Known as the birthplace of Star Wars, some of the most famous films in the world have been produced at Elstree Studios; the Indiana Jones and Star Wars trilogies, Superman, The Shining and Labyrinth to name just a few from an endless list. Elstree Studios is home to some of the top shows on British television today; The Crown, Strictly Come Dancing, Big Brother, The Voice, Celebrity Juice, A League of Their Own, The Chase, Pointless, Room 101 and many more.

Despite being called “Elstree Studios”, only one studio has ever been located in Elstree itself, the remainder residing in the adjacent town of Borehamwood. When the studios were being established, Elstree was significantly larger than Borehamwood. Nowadays, Borehamwood is the larger, but the old names have remained in use. Borehamwood is predominantly a post-war town, which in recent years has seen a bit of a boom in development due to its affordability. Neighbouring Elstree, on the other hand, owes its growth to the 1868 arrival of the Midland Railway station but has a history that can be traced back to the 5th Century and the Battle of Ailestreu.

Our Elstree office is located in the heart of Elstree, a stone’s throw from the A41, providing links to the M1, M25 and A1. Our experienced team all live in Elstree and surrounding areas and are part of the community, so they have extensive knowledge of the area. The Elstree team provide the following legal services:

  • Residential and Commercial Conveyancing
  • New Build Conveyancing
  • Civil Litigation
  • Family Law
  • Debt Recovery
  • Personal Injury
  • Employment Law
  • Wills & Probate
  • Landlords & Tenant
  • Regulatory Advice

The Law Practice (UK) Ltd is unique in the services we offer and the way we operate our firm as a whole. We offer a FREE home call service where we help our clients with the initial paperwork and can organise the meeting and greeting clients for ID purposes to limit the client making unnecessary journeys to the office. We believe in being proactive and not reactive.

Please feel free to pop in and see the team to discuss any legal requirements you may have, alternatively call us on 0207 167 4899 or email info@lplawfirm.com