This is because the lower the lease term, the more expensive it is to extend the lease. A shorter lease can impact on the sale price of your property and some lenders won't agree to lend on properties with shorter terms.
There are two routes which you can follow:
It is possible to agree a price and new terms with your freeholder directly/informally. This route involves you contacting your freeholder to see what premium they want and what new lease term you can have.
Once these have been agreed, your solicitor will deal with the legal documentation. They will check the title and existing lease and then draft the documentation needed to extend the lease.
This is usually the fastest and cheapest of the two routes.
This is a more complicated, longer process and involves instructing a solicitor to start the process for you. They will check that you are entitled to request a lease extension and, if you are, they will prepare and serve a Section 42 Notice on the Freeholder.
The Freeholder then has to respond and indicate if they accept you are entitled to a lease extension, or not. If accepted, both you and the freeholder should then instruct surveyors who will assess what they think the premium payable should be. Negotiations will then take place regarding the premium and hopefully an agreement is reached!
If an agreement cannot be reached then you may need to make an application to the Property Tribunal to determine the premium.
We have years of experience dealing with all aspects of the lease extension process and can discuss the best route for you. We can also talk you through the anticipated costs involved in each route and how to get started.