Superior landlord lease extension: A SAM Conveyancing guide for getting a Lease Extension when there's a Head Lease involved
Do you have a superior landlord?
The lease extension process is different if you have a superior landlord and the head lease doesn't have 90 years left to run.

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Superior landlord lease extension

(Last Updated: 29/05/2024)
5 min read

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act 2024 was passed on the 24th May 2024, but is not yet in effect and the date for this is not yet clear. We will update our content as and when the finalised legislation is published.

Some of the expected changes include:

  • 990 year standard lease extension for houses and flats
  • Standardised format for service charge bills, for greater transparency
  • Leaseholders will no longer have to pay their freeholder’s costs when making a claim
  • Freeholders who manage their building directly must belong to a redress scheme, so leaseholders can challenge them if needed (already applies to managing agents)
  • Ban on sale of leasehold houses, except in specific circumstances and schemes
  • Fair and transparent buildings insurance handling fees
  • Removal of two year requirement before statutory extension

While the existing act abolishes ground rent on lease extension and new leases, the new act does not cap ground rent on pre-existing leases.

    Getting a lease extension when there is a head lease (aka intermediate lease) is more complicated because:

    The head lease can't grant you a 90 year lease extension if their lease term is under the granted term; and
    The lease extension premium is shared between the head lease and the superior freeholder.

What is different about a superior landlord lease extension?

The power to extend the lease can only remain with the head lease if they have enough years to allow the leaseholder to extend. If they don't then the superior freeholder is served with the Section 42 Notice and they will handle the formal lease extension process. What differs:
  • the Section 42 Notice is served on the Competent Freeholder - IE the superior freeholder if the head lease does not have enough years.
  • the Section 42 Notice states the premium due for the share to the head lease and the balance to the Superior lease.

Who is the Competent Landlord?

In legal terms, the competent landlord is the first landlord above the underlease who is capable of granting the 90 year extension. Often the competent landlord will be the flat owner’s immediate freeholder, but there are circumstances where they do not have sufficient years on their own head lease to grant the leaseholder the additional 90 years.

If it's found that the competent landlord is the freeholder and not the intermediate landlord then the freeholder would conduct the lease extension claim and the name used in the Section 42 Notice.

Separate prices would obviously need to be proposed in the notice of claim in respect of the effect of the extension on the freehold and headlease.

In fact an intermediate landlord can try to conduct things themselves if their ownership or the premium is in question by serving a notice of separate representation, however, the case of Stella Kateb vs.Howard de Walden Estates (2016) heard before the Court of Appeal tends to suggest that an intermediate leaseholder has limited powers in all these regards and might have to apply to County Court for remedy.

Free initial leasehold advice

Arrange a free consultation with one of our experienced conveyancing executives on:

Lease Extension Solicitors Consultation
  • Lease extension
  • Purchasing the leasehold, freehold or share of freehold
  • Selling a leasehold property with a short lease
  • Extending the lease at the same time as you sell

We specialise in lease extensions and have RICS valuers for the premium/negotiation and solicitors for the section 42 notice and formal or informal extension.

Request a tailored quote for:
  • RICS Lease Extension Valuation or L2 Homebuyers Survey
  • Serving of the section 42 notice, or section 13 notice on the freeholder
  • Negotiation with the freeholder (with the support of your RICS valuer)
  • Completion of the legal work, including deed of variation
  • Application to Tribunal to determine the premium
  • Vesting order for absent landlords

Frequently Asked Questions
Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Written by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands-on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Reviewed by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

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