Can my landlord refuse to extend my lease because of an outstanding dispute?

by The Chartered Surveyor

Question

I have approached my freeholder for a new lease. However, he has stated that he is not willing to grant a new lease at the moment, as we are in the middle of a dispute concerning some work that I did to the flat. He says I should have applied for licence to alter, and a lease extension can’t be granted until this matter is resolved. How can I move things forward? 

Answer

Assuming you meet the basic eligibility criteria (see previous posts), you will have a statutory right to extend your lease under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993. This right exists regardless of any other dispute that may have occurred. If your landlord is not willing to negotiate informally then you can instruct a solicitor to serve formal notice under section 42 of the Act.

If the layout of the flat has been reconfigured, or it has been extended, then a new land registry compliant lease plan will need to be registered with the Land Registry when the new extended lease is granted. If there is an outstanding dispute regarding the alterations at that stage, there may be a delay in registering the new lease. It would, therefore, be worth working towards resolving the dispute. However this need not stop you from starting the process of extending your lease, which in itself can take a number of months.