Consumer rights: Can I extend the lease on a part-owned flat?
Problems with shared ownership of a property when time begins to run out...A sofa company refuses to refund delivery charges on a wrong order
Sunday 27 June 2010
I bought my flat six years ago under a shared ownership scheme. I own half and the housing association owns half. I can also buy a bigger share as and when I can afford it.
However, my solicitor at the time didn't tell me that the lease had less than 79 years left to run. Because of something called the "marriage value", it will be very expensive for me to extend the lease and the shorter the lease becomes the harder it will be to sell my share. I've complained about this to the solicitor who says he's done nothing wrong. I've taken the complaint to the Legal Complaints Service but am not happy with the outcome. Is there anything I can do?
I sent your question to Chris Kennedy, a property solicitor and partner at Howes Percival LLP, and he agrees that as it stands your lease is a "wasting asset". As the length of the lease decreases, the value of the property will fall. An extension reverses that so the full value of the flat can be realised when it's sold. However, the cost of extending the lease goes up as the length of the lease shortens.
You mentioned the "marriage value". When a tenant is given an extension to a lease, the value of the landlord's interest in the property usually goes down and the value of the tenant's interest usually goes up. But the value of the tenant's interest often increases by more than the amount by which the landlord's interest goes down – which means that the total value of the property increases. That increase in the total value is the marriage value. The longer the unexpired period of the existing lease the lower the marriage value.
Under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993, a tenant has the right to be granted a new lease for a term equal to the unexpired period of the existing lease plus 90 years. The tenant has to pay a premium for the extended lease. Where the unexpired period is 80 years or less when the tenant requests an extension, the premium will include half of the marriage value. If the lease was more than 80 years there is no marriage value to pay. Your premium will include half of the marriage value and that makes it so expensive for you to extend your lease.
However, because you don't own 100 per cent of the lease you don't qualify for a lease extension. That's probably why your solicitor didn't tell you about the marriage value rule. If you owned the property outright, you could then request a lease extension. But Mr Kennedy says it may be in the housing association's interests to consider extending the term of the lease so he advises you to try negotiating with them.
As far as the complaint against your solicitor is concerned, from what Chris says there seems to be little you can do. The question is: can you expect a solicitor to tell you about a rule that doesn't apply to you at the time of a transaction? As the Legal Complaints Service has found your solicitor advised you correctly, your only recourse is to contact the Office of the Legal Services Ombudsman – www.olso.org
We bought a sofa in a shop and liked it so much we ordered a second one from the retailer's website. The colour looked identical to the sofa that we already had and had the same name. But when the second sofa arrived it was a different colour. The retailer is refusing to take the second sofa back unless we pay £120 in delivery charges. What can I do?
If you go by the appearance alone of a colour on a website it may not turn out exactly as you expect. However, as you were going by the name as well as the appearance you should have been fairly safe. You could have both sofas taken away and start again with another company. If you do that make it clear that you expect to have your delivery charges refunded as well as your money back as this was no fault of yours. If the firm withholds the delivery charges you could make a claim for it in the county court. You could ask for both sofas to be re-covered in another colour. Or you could ask for the first one to be re-covered in the same material as the second. Choices two and three give you matching sofas but not in the original choice of colour. Before you decide, talk to Consumer Direct on 08454 040506, www.consumerdirect.gov.uk
Do you need help with a consumer complaint?
Write to Julian Knight at the Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
- 1 Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
- 5 Denmark bans kosher and halal slaughter as minister says ‘animal rights come before religion’
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
iJobs Money & Business
Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)
£350 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...
£500 - £560 per day: Orgtel: Java Developer FX - Banking - London - Up to £560...
£350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...
£26000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Account Manager - (Produc...
Day In a Page
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000