Paying dearly for a longer lease

Our lawyer, Christopher Avery, explains how common law applies to parking vehicles on a shared driveway
Legal cartoon
© © Merrily Harpur (
Question: Some years ago, the flat owners in our block took the landlord to court and were awarded his interest in the property.

We duly created a company whose board members are elected annually. Since the board is notionally the landlord, is there any law preventing it from extending all the leases to, say, 999 years, simply by means of an official letter to all the leaseholders - or at least those with a share in the company?

As all the flat owners, including the board, have an interest in extending their leases, it seems odd that the board is currently demanding a substantial price for such a benefit, referring to "professional and administrative charges" which, I suspect, have been dreamt up by self-interested legal advisers.

Answer: If we can assume that the freehold interest in the property now vests in the management company, then the management company, acting in the best interests of its shareholders, should have the right to extend all/any of the leases.

The management company’s constitution would have to be considered, but there should be nothing to prevent this from being for nil consideration.

However, it would depend on what the shareholders of the management company decided collectively. Any extension will need to be documented by way of a deed which would be registered by each tenant at the Land Registry.

What's your problem?

If you have a question for Chris Avery, please email, or write to: Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5EE.

We regret that questions cannot be answered individually but we will try to feature them here. Christopher Avery is managing partner at Pitmans Solicitors (

Follow us on Twitter @HomesProperty and Facebook