Should you choose to approach the freeholder direct and negotiate your lease extension outside the provisions of the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (as amended), these rules do not apply.
However, if you choose to use the powers of the Act, the following criteria must be met:
1. It must be a long lease, defined as any of the following:
A lease of at least 21 years when it was granted. It does not matter how long it is now.
If a long lease has expired, but the landlord has not served notice
A lease that ends on death or marriage or an unknown date
A shorter lease that allows the right of perpetual renewal
A shared ownership lease where the share of the leaseholder is 100%.
2. You have not sublet your property on a long lease (at least 21 years).
3. You have been the registered owner for at least two years. You do not have to have lived there. Also, if you are buying a flat from someone who has been the registered owner for two years or more, they can apply and assign the application to you.
4. It must be a residential property and not a commercial property, with a residential not commercial lease. In the case of a Buy-To-Let owner holding the property in a business name, as long as the lease is a residential lease, the owner will still be eligible for a lease extension.
5. If the freeholder is the National Trust, the Crown* or if the building is within a cathedral precinct, you may not qualify and should ask an expert to advise you. Also, if the freehold is part of an operational railway, special rules apply. * Although not obliged to agree, the current policy of the Crown is not to raise an objection.
6. If the freeholder is a charitable housing trust who have provided the flat as part of their functions.
7. If the freeholder wants to demolish or redevelop the property and you have 5 years or less remaining on your lease (in this instance, you would be entitled to compensation).
NB: Leases can be extended on an individual basis & therefore there is no need or requirement for others in the block to extend their lease at the same time.
We have provided the above information as a general guide. We are not solicitors, any quotations of statutory law are not intended to be legal representations, you must always seek clarification from a firm of solicitors who are specialists in this area of enfranchisement law.