I have recently inherited my father's leasehold flat after he passed away.
The flat has quite a short lease and I want to extend it. Is this possible?
I am sorry to hear of your loss. It will be possible to extend the lease but you may not be able to do that straight away – it depends on whether you have moved the title to the flat into your name already.
Broadly speaking, a flat owner will have the right to claim an extended lease after two years of legal ownership.
A new right was introduced by 2002 legislation for personal representatives of a flatowner to exercise the right where the flat owner had accrued it before he passed away as long as those personal representatives give the statutory form of claim notice within two years after the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.
It is not clear from your enquiry whether the title to the flat has been transferred into your name already. If it has, then unfortunately you would have to wait for two years of ownership to accrue in your name before you can make a claim for a new lease. So hopefully the title to the flat is still in the name of your later father or perhaps the personal representatives in that capacity.
While you will no doubt find it frustrating if you have to wait for two years before you can extend the lease, it is worth noting that the Government has been consulting around options to potentially reduce the premium payable for a new lease.
Mark Vinall, Partner at Winckworth Sherwood