Extending lease with absent freeholder
Extending a lease with an absent freeholder can be more challenging than when the freeholder is actively involved. However, leaseholders still have options to extend their lease even in the absence of the freeholder. Here are some considerations:
- Determine lease extension eligibility: Check if you meet the eligibility criteria for a lease extension in your jurisdiction. This usually includes being a leaseholder for a certain period, such as two years.
- Serve a Section 42 Notice: Serve a formal notice called a Section 42 Notice (or its equivalent in your jurisdiction) on the last known address of the absent freeholder. This notice expresses your intention to extend the lease and provides proposed terms and premiums. Keep records of the notice and proof of delivery.
- Appoint a nominee purchaser: In some cases, you may need to appoint a nominee purchaser to act on behalf of the leaseholders when the freeholder is absent or cannot be located. The nominee purchaser represents the leaseholders' interests during the lease extension process.
- Obtain professional valuation: In order to determine the premium for the lease extension, you will need to obtain a professional valuation of the property. This is typically carried out by a qualified surveyor or valuer who specializes in leasehold property.
- Apply to the First-tier Tribunal: If the absent freeholder does not respond or disputes the lease extension, you may need to apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to determine the premium and terms of the lease extension. The tribunal will assess the evidence presented and make a legally binding decision.
- Obtain legal advice: It is advisable to seek legal advice from a solicitor experienced in leasehold matters. They can guide you through the process, ensure compliance with legal requirements, and provide assistance in case of disputes or complications.
While extending a lease with an absent freeholder can be more complex and time-consuming, it is still possible to achieve a lease extension. It is crucial to follow the appropriate legal procedures, document all correspondence and actions, and seek professional guidance to navigate the process effectively.