Although leaseholders, in certain circumstances, enjoy a statutory right to lease extension or enfranchisement, thereby forcing their will on the landlord, no flat-owner or flat-buyer should assume that seeking to exercise a statutory right will be easy. Before you know it you can find yourself feeling as though you are in a David Vs Goliath situation.
When it comes to lease extensions, landlords and tenants can agree terms quickly and amicably. Occasionally, they agree to their own variation on the basic law – a lease extension for more than statutory 90 years, for example, but with a substantial rather than a peppercorn (nominal) ground rent.
Some landlords intentionally create a war of attrition in anticipation that the tenant will give up first. Instead of good-natured negotiations, a battle ensues .
A Leasehold Valuation Tribunal( LVT ) cannot award costs and, as a result, most disputes are resolved before they reach the door of the LVT.
In a lease extension case in Harrow some years ago two couples had virtually identical flats each with 41-year leases and each with essentially the same values. The landlord appealed to the LVT . Worried about escalating costs one of the couples no longer argued their case. The other couple carried and, despite their similar positions, ended up paying many thousands more than the couple who withdrew.
The moral of this story is that is nearly always best to try and negotiate with your landlord for a lease extension .