What is a deed of variation of lease and when do you need one?

Do you need a deed of variation for your flat?

The simple answer to the above question of course depends on the lease and any actions you or a previous owner may have taken. There are many reasons why a deed of variation may be needed and they are common. However, finding out that a deed of variation is required, often when you are selling or remortgaging, is annoying and involves legal fees and other costs you probably haven’t planned for.

So, you’ll want lawyers who know what they are doing and can act as fast as possible, keeping you proactively informed and with reasonable fees. Our property lawyers are a great choice. Please do get on contact.

When do you need a deed of variation for a lease?

There are 3 main reasons leases need to be amended :

  • Mortgage lenders requirements change – clauses in leases drafted decades ago, whilst fully legally accepted at that time, are no longer acceptable.
  • When a lease is extended – this is very common with long leases of houses which were converted into flats decades ago. In many cases, the lease now needs to be extended back up to 125 years. Whilst this is effectively a variation the usual way it is dealt with is by way of a deed of surrender of the lease and a regrant.
  • Where the flat has had internal alterations and the lease plan no longer reflects the layout, in which case a new lease plan will be required.

What are the fees and costs for a property deed of variation?

In the vast majority of situations where there needs to be a deed of variation of a lease or surrender and regrant, costs involved will not just include your own legal fees. Lender and freeholder consents will be needed and these are usually dependent on agreeing to pay their legal fees.

In addition, you may need to pay surveyors fees with some types of variation which doesn’t just relate to a technical updating of lease clauses. Land Registry fees will also be payable. A common overall amount in terms of legal and associated costs for a deed of variation will be between £1,000.00-2,000.00 plus VAT.

How long does a lease variation take?

This can be a source of real frustration and a reason to start as soon as you find out you need to vary your lease. Timeframes for what is in essence something quite straightforward can take between 2- months. The main reason for this is that in most cases there are several parties involved and their lawyers. The variation is unlikely to be a top priority issue for these 3rd parties so your lawyer will need to be as proactive and persistent as possible.

We fully appreciate that valuable lawyers and legal services provide excellent service as well as excellent legal advice. Please do contact us to discuss how we can help with your property lease variation. 

Which defects in a flat lease might mean you need a deed of variation?

  • No provision for forfeiture on the insolvency of the tenant -If there is a clause in the existing lease that allows the landlord to forfeit the lease because a tenant has become insolvent, this must be removed using a deed of variation. Only then will a lender agree to the lease.
  • Access/Services – satisfactory legal rights for access, services, support, shelter and protection
  • Structure, foundations, main walls, roof, common parts, common services and grounds)
  • Building Insurance clauses must include risks which are acceptable to the lender and sufficient cover value wise (older leases do not always meet current criteria)
  • mutual enforceability clauses are often not included in older leases
  • Errors in leases and/or lease plans are quite common relating to garden areas and use, parking and even access and rights of way

Solicitors for a deed of variation

We have an experienced and proactive property law team. Our lawyers deal with a significant numbers of lease variations every year so we are an excellent choice to get the job done efficiently and as fast as possible at a proportionate cost. Please do get in contact for a quote or discussion.

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