One of Britain’s richest men, the Duke of Westminster, could see the value of his estates plummet this week if a landmark legal challenge is successful. The case could also benefit 2m households across England and Wales. The court of appeal will on Tuesday rule in the case of Mundy v the Sloane Stanley Estate in a long-running legal battle over the calculation basis for extending a lease.
If the ruling goes in favor of Mundy, it will send shockwaves through the property industry, slicing as much as half of the cost of extending a lease or buying a freehold. There are estimated to be 2.1m homes in England and Wales where the leases have less than 80 years remaining, with 490,000 in London alone. The cost of extending the leases back to 99 or 125 years could fall by an average of 31% if the legal challenge succeeds.