RICS rejects fears that short leasehold properties will be valued at nothing

An online post sparked widespread consternation yesterday that lenders might refuse to lend altogether on leasehold properties with less than 85 years to run.

Currently, most lenders are wary of leaseholds with 70 years or less.

The post by mortgage adviser Lisa Orme said: “Had a bit of a shock today at a mortgage event!

“One of the lenders told us that someone very high up at RICS has alerted lenders that from now on any property with a lease length of less than 85 years will be valued at NIL!!”

She said on the Property Tribes forum that she was trying to get urgent clarification.

The RICS has now spelled out its new new approach to valuations of leasehold properties.

Responding to a question from EYE, UK valuation director Fiona Haggett said: “Recent postings on social media are suggesting that there is confusion and misunderstanding in some quarters regarding a recent change to RICS Valuation – Professional Standards (Red Book) as it relates to the valuation of residential properties for loan security purposes.

“For clarification, RICS has NOT dictated that properties with a remaining lease term of fewer than 85 years should be given a nil value.”

She went on: “In April, RICS changed guidance to valuers around the assumptions that should be made for leasehold residential properties, where the details of the terms of the lease have not been made available to them.

“One of these changes was to raise the assumed remaining lease term from 70 years to 85 years.

“It is important to note that this is merely a valuation assumption and not a mortgage lender rule or an instruction on how to value a property.

“Mortgage lenders will continue to set their own rules around what they consider to be suitable lease length on which to base lending and the market will continue to set the value of a property, which will, in turn, be reflected by valuers.

“The reasoning behind this change is to ensure that valuations where the lease details are unknown will not be adversely affected by any potential that marriage value will be payable in the event of an application to extend the lease term (the point at which this cost becomes a factor is at 80 years unexpired).

“We recognise that lender policies have reflected the laid down Red Book assumptions in the past, but from a valuation point of view we need to ensure that any assumption of remaining lease term is set at a point that enables a full and robust market value assessment to be completed.”

She went on: “The guidance given to valuers states that the change should not have an impact on the market; it is merely a reflection of what is already a fact.

“As an existing reality, it should not therefore affect lending policies or property values.”


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  1. David Cantell

    Given lease lengths have such an impact on the value of a property, I’m surprised there is not more advice given during the purchase process.

  2. smile please

    Standard 99 year leases are so impractical, given the cost of a lease extension below 80 years remaining is circa 15k it makes moving impossible for some.


  3. johnclay

    This is a classic Chinese Whisper situation.  Please look up the CML handbook:


    As you will see all lenders have different requirements but most are happy with 25 or 30 years plus the mortgage term, usually 50 or 55 years.

    Obviously the surveyor/valuer will need to take into account the number of years remaining on the lease but realistically it should not affect the value of the property if it is more that 70 years.

    This demonstrates the importance of the agent ascertaining an accurate figure for the length of the lease when the property is put on the market, so that there are no problems several weeks into the transaction.


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