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// Your FirstPort Team

How a survey revealed I needed… a survey

Clive Booth, PR Manager at FirstPort reveals some insights from a recent survey we ran with our social followers.

Just before the May Bank Holiday, I ran a survey polling FirstPort social media followers. The intention had been to craft a press release providing a snapshot of how people intended to spend their bank holiday.

Here’s what they said.

Gardening proved to be the most popular response with 61% saying they’d be in the garden over the bank holiday.

When asked how many hours of DIY they intended to do over the bank holiday weekend 80% planned on doing less than five hours. 53% of respondents currently pay for a professional to do DIY in their home. Perhaps I should have focused less on DIY and more on other things like going shopping, doing sport or having a barbeque?

One answer to my questions has kept coming back to me as a big surprise.

Of those who are leaseholders, and own their own flat, 77% said ‘they did not know how many years they have left on their lease’. So?

Well as a leaseholder myself I’ve always known that whilst I ‘own’ my flat it is a ‘wasting asset’. Technically it’s value diminishes the shorter the lease. Some leases are 999 years long, so effectively last forever, but many like mine which is the norm started as 125-year leases.

So what?

It occurred to me that I didn’t know the length of my flat’s lease. When did you last look at your lease? Do you even know where it is? And if you do, check how many years it has to run? After 30 years the cost of extending the lease dramatically increases the nearer to the 80th year, or less, than it has to run.

So I checked my lease.

Now I and several of the other owners in our building are now are extending our leases by another 90 years. Although our leases have 90 years’ to run the process to extend is still costing around £4,500 each.

The legal entitlement to extend a lease, known as leasehold enfranchisement, is a niche and relatively complex process involving a surveyor’s assessment of the value of the unexpired lease and then a legal negotiation on your behalf between a solicitor and the freeholder. I have been very well assisted by and Meaby & Co. Other surveyors and solicitors are available, here’s a good list.

Surely everyone should know the value and the terms of such an important contract they’ve entered into? But how many of us do? Before the next bank holiday if you own a flat why not check how long your lease has left to run. It might be boring but it could give you a new lease of life.

We’ll be doing a more thorough survey in the future. If you’d like to suggest topics to research please email In the meantime here are the results of my May survey.