In this article which first appeared in the News on the Block
Magazine on 14 October 2016, Jonathan Achampong explains what
happens on the expiry of a long residential lease.
It is a well-known fact that a lease is a capital asset that has
a market value but it is also a wasting asset in that its value
will gradually erode as time passes. The fewer years there are left
to run on the lease, the less it will be worth.
However, there is a common misconception that when a long
residential flat lease expires, the tenant must automatically
vacate the property. This is not strictly true.
When the contractual term of a residential long lease at a low
rent comes to an end, then providing the tenant occupies the flat
as his only or principal home, the lease is continued under
Schedule 10 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 (this
effectively replaces Part I of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954
which had a similar effect) until brought to an end in accordance
with this Act.
As one would expect, strict requirements must be met to be
eligible for security at the end of the lease and certain
properties are automatically excluded from the protective framework
altogether – for example, where the landlord is the
Nonetheless, the general position is that, unless either the
tenant or the landlord takes specific steps to end the tenancy, it
will simply continue on precisely the same terms and the tenant
does need to do anything unless he or she receives a notice from
Depending on the circumstances, a tenant may be able to remain
in occupation on the same terms, or the landlord may propose a new
assured periodic tenancy. Where the landlord wishes to end the
tenancy by replacing it with an assured periodic tenancy, new terms
will need to be settled by agreement between the parties or fixed
by a Rent Assessment Committee.
It goes without saying that tenants ought to extend their lease,
whether by informal negotiation with the landlord or by making a
statutory claim, as soon as possible.
Lease extension and enfranchisement rights can still be
exercised after the term of the lease has expired, but there are
strict time limits for doing so. Landlords wishing to either regain
possession of flats, or to continue to let them on the best terms
possible, should instruct a good solicitor promptly to ensure that
the correct steps are taken in a timely fashion.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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