It's worth knowing that there are laws in place to help you extend your lease, should you wish to do so. During a short lease of 99 years, the property can be bought and sold but your term does not change. As the years roll on, the lease will reduce in length and value, making it decreasingly attractive to mortgage lenders. As a result, the shorter the lease gets, the more expensive it becomes to extend.
If your lease has less than 90 years left, it is time to consider extending, before you fall into what is known as the '80-year trap'. There are various ways to overcome this problem though, so don't panic if you do find yourself in this position.
If you've owned the property for at least two years, you're in luck. You've got a legal right to ask your freeholder for an extension of 90 years, so the first thing to do is to approach your landlord to discuss a new agreement.
If you've lived in the property for under two years, it gets a little more complicated. You can either persuade the freeholder to let you extend, or join the proceedings if the previous owner had already set about trying to get an extension. If neither option works, you'll have to wait until you've been there for the magic two-year period before you can set the ball rolling.
Another option is to buy a share of your freehold with your other neighbours, as when you do this, you can extend the lease at the same time - and often for free too.
There's lots of different costs at play here, so a solicitor can help you with a more in-depth valuation. As a guide though, costs can rise by 1% of the property's value, and there's also stamp duty, legal costs and valuation fees to consider. Most lenders will extend your mortgage to pay for a lease extension, but they'll want to make sure you can afford this.