Oxford Lease Extension

Mo Miah | June 2024

We offer complete end-to-end service which will oversee your entire lease extension. Our team of surveyors are experts on the existing Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993. We are supported by our team of in-house solicitors at Leasehold Legal Services (LLS).

We cover all types of flats in Oxford and Oxfordshire: from converted flats in North Oxford and Jericho to ex-local authority flats in Cowley and Headington. You may even own a leasehold buy-to-let, and we recognise the additional licensing Oxford City Council requires of landlords. Whatever type of flat you have; we can help you achieve a lease extension.

Do not worry if Oxford City Council (OCC) are your freeholders – OCC are the freeholders of many developments around the city, and we have worked with them extensively on numerous cases. We are familiar with their in-house solicitors, and we know who to contact to get your lease extension sorted!

Who can extend their lease in Oxford?

If you own a flat in any part of Oxford, including but not limited to Rose Hill, Marston, Grandpont and Central Oxford, you may well be entitled to extend your lease.

If you own your home through a shared ownership scheme (sometimes known as ‘part rent part buy’), you will have to ‘staircase’ your ownership to 100% before you can extend your lease.

Flat owners are entitled to a lease extension after two years of ownership.

How much does a lease extension cost?

There are three main factors that affect the ‘premium’ you pay for your lease extension:

  • The current market value of your flat (from the day it is valued).
  • The amount of ground rent you pay, including any future rises.
  • The length of your lease when you decide to extend.

Leases that are under 80 years in length or leases with high ground rents have a higher premium. This tends to be most frequent among leaseholders with private sector landlords.  Ex-local authority flats are less likely to have high ground rents or short leases, because most flats in Oxford were leased for 125 years in the ‘80s with only £10 ground rents.

As an example, we completed on a Banbury Road case where the freeholder was Oxford City Council. Due to their £10 ground rent, nearly all their premium was informed by the market value of their flat, and so the client was advised on how much the lease extension could have cost based on the market value evidence available. Despite the council’s sluggishness, our team of negotiators did an excellent job of pushing the council for a good price, and we achieved a premium less than the evidence indicated.

On another case in Abingdon, the freeholder was a private landlord. The lease had a significantly higher ground rent which increased by £200 every 25 years. As a result, most of the premium was informed by the ground rent and not the market value of the flat.

It is typical for largest component of the premium to be the value of your flat. As one of the most expensive cities in the UK, the value of flats in Oxford can vary considerably, but as of writing, the average flat in Oxford sells for £323,730 according to Rightmove. We will be able to provide you with a more specific and up-to-date guidance on your premium when our team of valuers produce your valuation.

What’s the process?

Unlike other firms, Homehold provides an end-to-end service for a fixed fee. We are experts at lease extensions, and our attention to detail and proactive approach ensures you are getting the best deal while being updated on a weekly basis. We only work for leaseholders, so you can be sure there is no conflict of interest.

The fixed fee includes all the valuation, negotiations and legal work required to extend your lease. The legal work is carried out by the solicitors at our in-house law firm Leasehold Legal Services (LLS) that specialise solely in this field of law. LLS are regulated and authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Stage 1: Preparation and Valuation

Your lease extension begins with LLS reviewing all the documents relating to your flat and development, which they can access from Land Registry. They do this in a timely manner to prevent unwelcomed surprises later down the line.

When the legal team has completed their checks, all salient information will be passed on to valuation team, enabling them to create their valuation report. The aim of the report is to provide you with an idea of how much your premium could cost. It also gives our valuers the opportunity to gather valuable evidence to argue for a more favourable position during negotiations.

The evidence they will be looking for is flats of a similar age and style. These can be flats within the same development, or even flats on nearby roads. These ‘comparables’ will be reviewed so that an accurate valuation for your flat is produced.

As an example, if you own a flat in Lizmans Court in Cowley, the valuation team will first consider the sale prices of other flats in the development, and then they will look at similar purpose-built flats in Cowley. If you own a converted flat in Jericho, other converted flats nearby will be considered, although it is often harder to ascertain value for conversions as each conversion is unique.

Stage 2: Notice Serving and Negotiation

You will have the opportunity to review the valuation report to make sure you are happy with our valuation. When you are ready, LLS will serve a notice known as a ‘Section 42 Notice’, which notifies your freeholder than you are exercising your right to a 90-year lease extension and removal of your ground rent. It will also make an offer on how much you are prepared to pay, which we will advise in more detail in our report, and we are happy to discuss further with you.

At this point your freeholder has about two months to respond with their own counter-notice, known as a ‘Section 45 Counter-Notice’. It is typical for them to put a substantially higher figure in their counter-notice, and we expect them to do this.  

Our valuers commence negotiations on your behalf, which we do to drive down the freeholder’s counter-notice figure. They will keep pushing until a fair and reasonable premium is reached. This is done by providing the freeholder’s valuer with evidence for a lower premium and showing our calculations to support this. We do not charge by the hour – your fixed fee covers the entire negotiation process. Negotiations will continue until you are happy that the premium reached is fair.

Stage 3: Conveyancing and Completion.

With the premium agreed, your case is passed back to the solicitors at LLS to commence the legal work. They will review the documents provided by the freeholder’s solicitor to make sure the terms are fair, and it will include the additional 90 years and removal of ground rent. Typically, this process ranges from six weeks to four months – depending on how quickly (or slowly!) the solicitors on the other side can action matters.

The last part of the process is getting the lease registered at The Land Registry. The cost to do this is included in our fixed price fee.

What do Homehold charge?

The fixed fees is £2,400+VAT including all valuation, negotiations and the legal work conducted by LLS. Disbursements (additional fees) are included.

Why use Homehold for your lease extension?

Our specialist team of valuers work exclusively for leaseholder clients on a wide range of flat types – and we know how to get the best price for you. Our knowledge of Oxford and Oxford City Council has been invaluable during several lease extensions in the city, and we can help you here.

Here is a quote from one of our valuers:

"As an owner of a leasehold flat in East Oxford, I understand the challenges leaseholders in Oxford face: you have the combined effects of unfair treatment of leaseholders coupled with the frustratingly slow bureaucracy of Oxford City Council, not to mention their housing policies.

This is where Homehold can step in – we are experts on providing lease extensions for our leaseholder only clients, and our local knowledge and work with Oxford City Council has been invaluable on several files. We know how to get things done!"

Will Sayer - Valuer

Hear it from another flat owner in Oxford

Found Homehold during my flat sale which required a lease extension. It turned into quite a process due to an under lease which required a substantial amount of work. As the price is fixed this had no bearing on costs my end and Linz was extremely professional throughout. Kept me informed as we went through the stages and I felt assured I was working with the right man. Definitely earnt his money

Oxford Flat Owner

Start your lease extension in Oxford today

Article author photo

Mo is one of our valuation team at Homehold. He is passionate about ensuring that leaseholders get a fair price on their lease extensions. Mo has been working in London property for his entire career, and he is particularly well versed in Local Authority and Housing Association stock.

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