Sheffield leasehold nightmare could cost home owners thousands
Sheffield property owners are being warned of dwindling leaseholds that could end up costing them thousands of pounds to fix and make it difficult to sell their homes.
And they are being urged to take immediate action – or risk being left with a property they can’t sell.
The issue particularly affects houses in the S20 area, but houses, flats and apartments right across the city are also affected.
According to leading Sheffield-based Banner Jones Solicitors, the problem stems from the city’s high number of leasehold properties.
A spokesperson for the firm said: “When you buy a leasehold property, you own the right to live there for the period of the lease.
“The lease itself will be owned by a landlord (or freeholder), to whom you will pay an annual ground rent. If you live in a property where you pay a ground rent, then your property is leasehold.
“When the time left of the lease falls below 70 years, the property becomes almost unsaleable.
“And whilst the issue can be easily resolved if homeowners take action, many people are unaware that they are affected.”
The S20 area in Sheffield has been identified as having a particular problem.
How has this happened
When they were first written, the leases were given a long period – often several hundreds of years. But that was a very long time ago, and the number of years left on leases is beginning to dwindle.
It’s a serious issue: once a lease expires, the property returns to the freeholder.
This is a growing problem across Sheﬀield, and homes in the S20 area of Sheffield particular are greatly aﬀected.
As a result, says Banner Jones Solicitors, a property with less than 70 years left on the lease is practically impossible to sell.
“No mortgage lender or building society will agree to give potential buyers a mortgage on it,” continued the spokesperson. “As the time begins to expire, more and more of the property’s value passes to the landlord.
“For example, a property with 60 years left on the lease loses about 12.5% of its value, and by 50 years this increases to 25%.”
What can you do?
The time periods, terms and landlords for each lease vary from property-to property, so the only way to see whether you have a short lease is to have it looked at by experts.
Whether you opt to extend or buy, it can be a complex issue. But there is help.
For example, if you are concerned about the lease on your property, Banner Jones Solicitors in Sheﬀield has launched a new Lease Checker service.
For a fixed-fee of £50 + VAT, a specialist solicitor will look into your leases and prepare a jargon-free report to help you understand your position.
It will contain full details of the lease, including how many years are left and details of who your present-day landlord is.
They can also provide advice as to what it all means for you and your property, your options and what they believe is the best way forward – either extending the lease or purchasing it outright.
Opting for the Lease Checker service could mean peace of mind for your property – and also for elderly relatives – and help spot problems long before they could cost you thousands.
Find out more about Banner Jones Solicitors’ Lease Checker service at www.bannerjones.co.uk