Residential property development site - lease renewal negotiations

We acted for a client in the purchase of a residential development site. This comprised a freehold site and a lease of a ransom strip in front of it, for a term of 175 years, which permitted a right of access and to lay and use services under it. There was no statutory right to renew the lease.

Our client proposed to build a block of flats on the freehold site. The lease, on the face of it, meant that the development only had a life of 175 years, unless the freeholder of the ransom strip agreed an extension of the lease in the future. Our client agreed with the seller a substantial reduction in the price to take account of this defect. However, we provided advice to the effect that we considered that in the event that flat owners in the new development  sought to exercise their right to collective enfranchisement under Chapter I of Part I to the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (“1993 Act”), the rights of access and passage of services over the ransom strip could be preserved permanently and that similarly, in the event that a tenant sought a new lease under Chapter II of Part I to the 1993 Act, it would be possible to contend that the rights of access and passage of services are appurtenances of the "flat" under s.62(2) and that such rights can be continued into a new tenancy.

The firm has always provided an extremely high level of service. They recognise the value of a client relationship by making themselves available and meeting any deadline – no matter how unreasonable! The standard of the work is always of the highest calibre.

Chambers 2014, a client's guide to the UK legal profession

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