Docklands Housing - time to consider a lease extension?

28 January 2016

Senior Associate, Jane Canham, comments on lease extensions.

For many people there is an intrigue about the historical docklands areas of London, for so long the heart of industrial London and an entry point for ships with spices and other exotic cargo.  When the docks closed they became a home to filming many of the 1970s police shows.  The docklands was and is a unique area but it is not its fascinating past which has recently piqued the interest of lease extension practitioners. 

The redevelopment of London's docklands began with the formation of the London Docklands Development Corporation in 1981. On the south side of the river Surrey Quays shopping centre opened in 1988 and by the early 1990s 5500 homes had been built in the area including Baltic Quay and other developments surrounding the South Dock Marina, Greenland Dock and Plough Way. Some of the former warehouses were sympathetically restored including Globe Wharf; a former grain wharf which was redeveloped between 1996 and 1999 to form over 130 flats. Canary Wharf itself was developed in the late 1980s and both it and its numerous towers are home to many large banks and financial institutions.

The housing was immediately popular with those working in Canary Wharf, as well as investors renting to those who wanted to be close to the Jubilee Line (completed in 1998).  Many developments sold out before the show homes could be completed. The area is just as popular now with significant numbers of people working in Canary Wharf and the area home to open spaces, parks and leisure facilities. 

At the time the properties were built most developers granted 99 year leases and so any property where the lease was granted in 1997, or earlier, will now have less than 80 years remaining.  The owners of any such leases will therefore need to consider applying to extend their lease.  We recommend that you check your lease as quickly as possible, as there are potential benefits in making an application before the remaining lease term falls below 80 years.

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