<preform>Q&A: Extending leases; squatters' rights; buying in Spain; film locations</preform>

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Q I own a flat with 81 years left on the lease. How many years ought there to be left on a lease before a property starts to lose value?

Q. I own a flat with 81 years left on the lease. How many years ought there to be left on a lease before a property starts to lose value?

FF, by e-mail

A. It should be cheaper to extend your lease the more years you have left on it as it will be worth less to the leaseholder. The cost of any extension, however, depends on factors such as ground rent payable and the flat's value. As far as the property losing value is concerned, any buyer may find it difficult to get a mortgage on a lease shorter than 75 years, unless they reduce the mortgage so that the lease runs for some years after the mortgage has been repaid. Contact the Leasehold Advisory Service on 0845 345 1993 or visit www.lease-advice.org

Q. Squatters have lived opposite me in a near-derelict house for many years. House prices in the area have risen considerably. Will the squatters have a right to ownership?

D Evans, by e-mail

A. A squatter can try to claim the property after living in it for more than 12 years. If the title has been registered at the Land Registry, however, the squatter can make a claim after 10 years. The registry then notifies the owner, who has the right to object. If no objection is lodged, the property will pass to the squatter after two years.

Q. We would like to buy a property in Spain. What are the best ways to raise the money to pay for it? We have a decent-sized deposit.

KK, Basingstoke

A You can remortgage your home in the UK, if you have equity in the property and an income to allow further borrowing. Mortgage repayments would be in sterling. You could consider a mortgage from a UK lender via its offshore arm, where interest rates could be lower. Repayments in euros can become more expensive, however, if the exchange rate is less favourable.

Q. I have moved to a large, detached, character house with an outdoor pool. I think it would make an ideal location for filming adverts or TV programmes. Whom should I approach?

MR, Kent

A. There are a number of firms who are always looking for properties to add to their books, but they can be very fussy. Visit www.locations-uk.com or www.lavishlocations.co.uk for more details. It could earn you a fair bit of money but filming will be extremely disruptive to your daily life, especially if you have young children or pets. You may find the company will want to redecorate the house temporarily. Ask to speak to someone on their books to find out what it is really like.

If you would like a query answered, e-mail: propertyq&a@independent.co.uk. Only those questions featured will be answered. Any advice given will not be legally binding

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