Brady Solicitors recently completed a substantial and complex volume lease extension project, working with the managing agent and RMC directors to ensure a successful outcome.
The development consists of 163 luxury Thames-side apartments, with a mix of leaseholder owner-occupiers, overseas owners and UK-based buy to let investors. The leaseholders were introduced to Bradys by their managing agent, a long-standing client of the firm, and we then worked closely with the RMC directors, who took an impressively proactive approach to the lease extension project.
The lease extension work was driven by a number of leaseholders who were keen to remortgage for better deals – but were facing tight restrictions on lease length from their lenders.
We worked with the RMC directors to prepare a presentation and plan to explain the advantages of the lease extension work to all leaseholders. We also introduced a bespoke pricing plan to reflect the volume nature of the project. 95% of the leaseholders opted in.
A complex project
The legal work was complex due to a number of reasons. Firstly, the existing lease was a tri-party lease and the original freehold company no longer existed. Secondly, the head lease and freehold titles should have been merged – but weren’t.
We resolved this by surrendering the existing head lease, merging the titles and granting new leases out of freehold title, by reference to the existing lease. We also added a recital to the lease to reflect that the freeholder and management company were one and the same, and to cover their obligations.
It might all sound like a lot of dull legal stuff but, without this, the lease extension project would have fallen at the first hurdle, and the leaseholders would have been left with diminishing leases and properties that lenders would be un-mortgageable or un-sellable.
By applying our specialist leasehold law and lease extension expertise, we have now completed 145 lease extensions in the development, with nine pending, ensuring security for the leaseholders. The RMC directors are also happy, with one commenting:
“It was great to work with the Bradys lease extension team. They were knowledgeable, supportive and communicative and even unearthed a complex legal title issue that had affected the block for years. With Brady Solicitors’ help we managed to work through this issue and find a solution that ensured we could extend the leases as desired.”
Whilst lease extension projects are generally pretty straightforward, where there are multiple leaseholders with different motivations and drivers (plus a complex and initial unknown legal complication..) there’s no substitute for expert legal advice!