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the reason leases get short are because its a hassle and often tricky (as well as costly) to extend a lease. Your vendor is basically saying I don't have the time or energy to deal with this ('I would have done so by now had I been able to as I could then have sold for more'). 'If you want a good price maybe you can take on the hassle for me'
They will still need to assign you the right to extend bu serving a notice on the freeholder. You then have two choices, complete with the short lease and extend post completion after the freeholder has responded with how much they want and vendor is happy to pay this amount.
or if the vendor is not happy to take this amount off the price, they will tell you an amount that they are happy with. you can then either choose to complete or continue negotiating with the freeholder who might come down in price with a good presented argument as why to do so (they will nearly always try their luck for highest payment first). This can be a 6-9mths process if a very short lease and large sum of money involved. Anything 70yrs and above won't affect value very much (circa 7% at 70ys) and anything above 80yrs won't affect value at all (2k max for legals).
A surveyor is needed to value the property and the lease extension costs (maths algorithm) likely charge £600-1000 and a solicitor required to serve the notice - also a small cost £200-300. Be warned a freeholder is legally allowed to take 2 months to respond to your request for lease extension - and often do to the day to make you more desperate and pay that bit more.
best of luck
regards Andrew Peers - property investor / sourcer - 07912674181
Property Redress Scheme Number 011436 NLA member 174404
believe you have to wait 2 years.
The vendor should serve the Section 42 Notice after you have exchanged contracts and before completion.
On completion he assigns over the benefit of the Section 42 Claim to you
It is VERY IMPORTANT that the Notice of Claim under Section 42 is correct, if it is not and is considered invalid you will have to wait 2 years
The solicitor who drafts the notice will have to appreciate the significance of getting it right and their fees will have to reflect that level of responsibility
This is all if you complete before having extended the lease, you might be able to extend before completion but that would prob involve not negotiating with the freeholder which might be a touch harsh on the vendor (unless they agree to the possibly overly high cost to extend).
Say freeholder wants £20,000 and you think £12,000 is more accurate (big difference), vendor says look I will pay you 15k to complete - you might just say yes complete then negotiate with freeholder hoping to get it down under or around the 15k you've been paid.
So if completing prior to lease being extended i'd at least wait until you have confirmation from the freeholder that the notice has been served correctly and ideally their counter offer in place.
I number of freeholders will serve a counter notice on a without prejudice to their claim that the notice is invalid in order to murky the waters
Ashley ConnellLease Extension Solicitor at Hetts