By ANDREW FRIEZE
Do you live in a leasehold property? If you do, did you know you can legally claim a 90-year extension of the lease without any increase in ground rent?
This important right takes effect after you've been in the property for two years, but many leaseholders are not aware of it.
As the property market becomes more unstable and more leases come to an end, inquiries about lease extensions have gone up by 400 per cent in the last year.
Mary-Anne Bowring of specialist firm Ringley, who advise website www.leaseholdguidance.co.uk, says:
We are receiving double the amount of inquiries each month on leasehold issues, top inquiry being lease extensions. Absentee freeholder problems and freehold purchase are close behind.
Mary-Anne, who is also a governor for the Institute of Residential Property Management, says more growth is expected as it's inevitable that leases can only get shorter and, as the market softens, a long lease will become critical to woo buyers.
To extend your lease successfully, experts at www.leaseholdguidance.co.uk suggest:
GET equipped, find a copy of your lease and know what your ground rents are.
DON'T get fooled into buying a short extension with a high ground rent: you're entitled to add 90 years extension with no ground rent.
YOUR original lease doesn't get destroyed, it becomes extended after a deed of variation.
REGISTER with the deed of variation at HM Land Registry, as it becomes part of your property's title.
FOR more information visit www.leaseholdguidance.co.uk or call 020 7428 1970.
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