Once you have received a copy of your report you will need to pass a copy to your solicitor who will use our best case figure to serve a formal Notice. Technically this is a Section 42 for lease extensions and a Section 13 Notice for freehold enfranchisements.
Once the notice is served the freeholder has a period of 2 months to respond with a Counter Notice. In the period of time the freeholder’s surveyor is likely to wish to inspect your property for the purposes of producing his own valuation from which their solicitor will be able to serve a Counter Notice.
Upon receiving the Counter Notice, you should contact your surveyor who will be able to advise you how to proceed. In a very few instances the difference between the Notice and Counter Notice will be very small (this is usually only the case where the lease has over 80 years to run). Your surveyor may advise you to accept the Counter Notice figure or to put forward a figure that is between the two opposing amounts.
The more likely outcome is that the Notice and Counter Notice figures are some way apart and your surveyor will need to negotiate on your behalf. Peter Barry offer both hourly rates and fixed fees for negotiations so do enquire as to which option is most appropriate for your needs.
Once the Counter Notice is served you have up to 6 months to agree the premium. Upon the expiration of 2 months your solicitor can make an application to the Tribunal. It is our strong recommendation that an application is made at the earliest opportunity. Speak to your surveyor in the first instance as in some cases the premium may be close to being agreed but in the majority of instances the freeholder’s surveyor is in no rush to conclude matters. He is also likely to put forward excessive figures for settlement and it is often only the threat of a Tribunal that forces his hand into a reasonable settlement.
To many leaseholders the idea of a Tribunal is a daunting and costly process. Properly managed between you, your surveyor and your solicitor an application should lead to nothing of the sort, it should only serve as a mechanism to encourage a settlement.
Should it be in your best financial interests your surveyor will represent you as an expert witness at Tribunal. This will involve your solicitor preparing a bundle and the preparation of an expert witness report. Costs of such action vary on a case by case basis. It should be stressed however that of 100 instructions in an average year a surveyor is likely to only proceed to this stage on 2 or 3 occasions. The majority of cases are settled well in advance.
You can contact the leasehold team on 020 7183 2578 or by email.