Renewing your council lease

Leaseholders may have the right to apply to renew their lease. We will only consider lease extension applications under the statutory provisions of the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993. You are advised to seek independent legal advice before making an application.

Once accepted, a new lease can be purchased which adds a further 90 years to the current unexpired term of the lease. 

To qualify you must have held your lease for at least two years. 

You can read the Introductory Information for Leaseholders sheet below for details of the process, including the Council’s current fees which the leaseholder is liable for. A Section 42 Notice template is also available.  If you have any queries please contact the Legal Helpdesk on 01883 732745 or e-mail

The following is for information only. This does not constitute legal advice. Please consult your own solicitors if you wish to proceed with a purchase. 

  1. Legislation gives a right to people who are residential leaseholders (“Leaseholders”) to extend the lease of their flat.
  2. A long residential leaseholder is someone who owns a leasehold interest (“the Lease”) of a flat.
  3. The Lease has to have been granted for a term of 21 years or more. If a Leaseholder is the owner of a “Right to Buy” lease, then they will have such a long lease but the term of years left on the Lease will vary from flat to flat.
  4. The legislation is the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (“the Act”).
  5. The Act sets out the process, the rights, and the duties of Leaseholders and the landlord (“the Council”).
  6. It is recommended you take legal advice or valuation advice about the operation of the Act. A lease with fewer than 80 years left before its term comes to an end is likely to be more expensive to extend and harder to sell or remortgage.
  7. You must have owned your flat for at least two years before you can extend your Lease under the Act.
  8. The Act requires/allows the following things:
    1. The Lease can be extended by 90 years. For example: if your lease was granted for 125 years but 40 years have gone by since it was granted, you will have an “unexpired term” of 85 years. Extending your lease will bring it to 175 years unexpired.
    2. Any ground rent a Leaseholder pays will come to an end. (NOTE ground rent is separate from sums you pay the Council towards insurance or maintenance).
    3. The Leaseholder will have to pay a premium to the landlord for the new, extended lease. We cannot say what that premium might be – you will need valuation advice. Please look at this website for an indication
    4. The new lease will be identical to your existing lease save for limited exceptions outside the scope of this note.
    5. The Leaseholder must contribute to the landlord’s costs. Those costs will be limited to internal costs of the Council, its external lawyers, and its external valuers.
    6. There are controls on the level of the costs recoverable. They must be “reasonable”. We have negotiated with solicitors and we believe the costs are reasonable and we would be entitled to reclaim them in full. The likely costs are set out further on in this note.
    7. If you have a mortgage, you do not need your mortgage company to be involved in the process of extending your lease.
    8. The request for an extended lease must be made on a formal notice called a section 42 notice. A solicitor will draft and serve this for you (having taken valuation advice too).
  9. The Council is a public authority. It must not only comply with the law but there are limitations on how it sells interests in land, such as leases.
  10. The Council must receive a valid section 42 notice before it will extend a Leaseholder’s lease.
  11. Once it receives a valid section 42 notice the Council will take legal and valuation advice and make a counter-offer to the proposed premium.
  12. Once the premium is agreed, the lease wording can be settled and the lease extended.
  13. A lease extension can take between four months and one year to complete – depending on the Leaseholder’s wishes.
  14. We cannot advise on solicitors or valuers whom Leaseholders can contact but we can point you in the direction of an association of professionals that deal with Lease Extensions: A government body also provides information:

Lease extensions can take differing times. There are, however, strict time-limits.

  1. You must give us at least two months to respond to your section 42 notice with a counter-notice.
  2. If we were to agree your proposal in your section 42 notice (or you agreed our counter-notice proposal), the lease would have to complete within four months of the date of agreement of the premium and the contents of the lease.
  3. You are entitled to apply to tribunal if there is a dispute on the lease terms or the premium. You must make that application within six months of our counter-notice. We will not make the application. If you do not apply, your claim ends and you cannot make another one for one year.
  4. Few cases ever involve a tribunal hearing where a judge decides the lease terms and the premium. It is not often cost-effective for parties to argue at tribunal. Only one case in ten results in a hearing.
  5. The timings will be influenced greatly by your solicitor and valuer – and also your instructions to them. The Council will do what it is required to do as quickly as possible. Please be aware that the Council has internal processes that must be followed in order to ensure both compliance with the law and proper accountability for decisions relating to the sale of public assets.

You will have to discuss with your own solicitor and valuer what their costs are. The costs the Council will be likely to seek to recover as reasonable under the Act are:

  • The costs of employing a valuer: £450.
  • The Council’s internal costs of: £250.

The legal costs will be as follows:

  • Dealing with a valid notice and responding: £550.
  • Drafting and completing the lease: £600.

(There may be further costs if your notice is invalid, you ask to change other terms of your lease, your lease is defective or has pages missing, or if you sell your lease during the application.)

These costs (under section 60 of the Act) are payable in addition to the agreed premium on completion of the new lease.