Essential Tips for Buying a Flat with a Short Lease in 2024

Purchasing a flat with a short lease can be a complex and daunting process. With the right knowledge and preparation, however, you can navigate this landscape successfully. If you are looking for estate agents in Chester, then it is the right move to safely lease your home. Along with that here’s a comprehensive guide on what to consider when buying a flat with a short lease in 2024.

Understanding Leasehold Flats:

What is a Leasehold Flat?

In England and Wales, most flats are sold on a leasehold basis. This means you own the right to occupy the flat for a specified period, which typically ranges from 99 to 999 years. Unlike freehold ownership, where you own the property and the land it stands on outright, leasehold ownership only grants you the right to live in the property for the duration of the lease.

What is a Short Lease?

A lease is considered short when it falls below 80 years. At this point, extending the lease becomes significantly more expensive. Consequently, any lease with fewer than 100 years remaining should be scrutinised carefully due to the potential impact on mortgageability, resale value, and extension costs.

Challenges of a Short Lease:

Mortgage Difficulties:

One of the primary issues with a short lease is securing a mortgage. Many lenders are hesitant to offer mortgages on properties with leases below 80 years. Even if you can secure financing now, remortgaging in the future could be problematic, and potential buyers might face similar challenges when you decide to sell.

Costly Lease Extensions:

Extending a lease can be expensive, especially once it drops below the 80-year threshold. Costs can escalate rapidly, making it imperative to consider the financial implications of a lease extension. Typically, extending a lease with around 83 to 100 years left is more manageable, but once it dips below 80 years, the price can skyrocket.

Potential for High Costs:

If you are buying a flat with a lease just above the 80-year mark, be particularly cautious. The cost of extending a lease at 82 years remaining is relatively lower, but once it reaches 79 years, the price can triple. This sharp increase underscores the importance of understanding the lease duration and the associated costs.

Seller Reluctance:

Sometimes, buyers hope that the seller will extend the lease before the sale is finalised. However, sellers are under no obligation to do so, and you cannot legally extend the lease until you have owned the property for two years. This can complicate the buying process and delay your plans.

Delays in Extending the Lease

Even if a seller agrees to extend the lease, the process can take several months, adding delays to your purchase. It’s essential to factor in this potential delay when planning your move.

Impact on Property Value:


A flat with a short lease is typically valued lower than one with a long lease. Valuers often use formulas to estimate the worth of a flat based on its lease length. For instance, a flat with 70 years left on the lease might be worth around 88% of a similar flat with a long lease. However, these estimates can vary widely based on market conditions and buyer perceptions.

Buyer Considerations:

In practice, an informed buyer will deduct the anticipated cost of a lease extension from the purchase price. They will also factor in professional fees and the hassle of extending the lease, further lowering the offer.

Extending the Lease:

Legal Right to Extend:

Leaseholders have a legal right to extend their lease, and the freeholder cannot refuse. However, the process is not straightforward. It involves significant costs, potential delays, and negotiations.

Options for Extending the Lease:

Option A: Seller Extends the Lease Before Purchase

You can request the seller to extend the lease before completing the purchase. This option ensures you buy a property with a longer lease, avoiding immediate extension hassles. However, it can be time-consuming, especially if the seller opts for a statutory lease extension, which can take up to a year.

Option B: Seller Starts the Process

If waiting for a full extension is not feasible, you can ask the seller to initiate the lease extension process and transfer it to you. This approach carries risks, as you will inherit the ongoing negotiations and any uncertainties. Ensure you get professional advice to estimate costs accurately and amend your purchase offer accordingly.

Option C: Buy Now, Extend Later

The final option is to buy the property and extend the lease after owning it for two years. This allows you to separate the purchase and extension processes, potentially simplifying your initial transaction. However, you must plan how to finance the lease extension once you are eligible and ensure you can manage the associated costs.

Financial Considerations:

Budgeting for the Extension:

Whether you extend the lease immediately or after two years, it’s crucial to budget for the associated costs. These include the extension fee, professional valuation, legal fees, and a contingency for unexpected expenses.

Mortgage Implications:

Consider how the lease length and extension plans will impact your mortgage. Ensure your lender is aware of your plans and can accommodate any financial adjustments needed for the extension.

Professional Guidance:

Engage experienced professionals, such as conveyancing solicitors and lease extension valuers, to navigate the process smoothly. They can provide accurate cost estimates, negotiate with the freeholder, and ensure the legal aspects are handled correctly.


Buying a flat with a short lease requires careful consideration and thorough preparation. Understanding the implications of a short lease, budgeting for potential costs, and seeking professional advice are essential steps in making an informed decision. While short-lease properties can present challenges, with the right approach, you can navigate these complexities and secure a property that meets your needs and financial goals in 2024.

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