Lease Enfranchisement – Buying your freehold

We are specialists in collective lease enfranchisement, helping groups of leaseholders to buy their freehold. It’s a complex legal process by which you can compel the freeholder, through compulsory purchase, to sell you the freehold of the property.

The leasehold ownership of a property – typically flats and maisonettes – means the owner has the right to everything within the four walls of the property; it does not include the external or structural walls. The landlord, or freeholder, owns the building and the land it is built upon. Collective enfranchisement will give each leaseholder a share of the freehold, which has the following benefits:

  • Building management, maintenance and service charges are under your control
  • No more ground rent to pay
  • Free lease extension up to 999 years (excluding legal fees)
  • Opportunity to change onerous or outdated lease terms
  • A share of freehold adds value to your home

Before embarking on the process, you must have a professional valuation and legal advice. Most freeholders are unwilling to relinquish their freeholds and the process may therefore not be straightforward and require professional assistance.

If you are a group of leaseholders wishing to collectively buy a freehold, our legal and freehold valuation teams will ensure you get off to the correct start, advise if enfranchisement is possible, avoid unnecessary delays and costs, and manage the whole process for you from start to finish.

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What is collective enfranchisement?

Collective leasehold enfranchisement is legal term for the right to buy the freehold of a block of flats from the freeholder, subject to eligibility criteria being met. The key legislation for this is provided by the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (as amended). This allows for collective enfranchisement for leaseholders of a building that contains flats to collectively buy the freehold of the property.

The process is becoming more popular as leaseholder are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits associated with acquiring the freehold of their building. Undertaking collective enfranchisement is a big step, which is why we would advise all leaseholders to consult with our expert team to check whether the process is possible in your particular scenario, and how to go about purchasing the freehold.

Do you qualify for enfranchisement?

Before you can start the process to collectively buy the freehold of the building, there are certain eligibility criteria for leaseholders and for the property that must be satisfied. See Can I purchase the Freehold? for more details.

For the leaseholder to qualify, they must generally have a long lease with an original term of at least 21 years and not own more than two flats in the building.

For the property to qualify, the building must be a self-contained building, or part of a building, with a vertical division with services independent to that part. Specific exemptions apply for certain types of landlords and buildings.

There must be at least 2 flats in the building and have no more than 25% of the internal floor space (excluding common areas) dedicated to non-residential use. At least 2/3 of the flats must be owned by qualifying leaseholders. At least 50% of the flats in the building must participate in the enfranchisement process and those flat owners must be qualifying leaseholders.

What is the statutory process?

In order for a qualifying group of leaseholders to purchase the freehold of their qualifying property, the correct legal procedure must be followed. Read more about The Enfranchisement Process costs and how to get started.

The basic outline of the statutory process is as follows:

  • Information Notice served on the Freeholder, with 28 days to respond
  • Section 13 Notice served on the Freeholder by the Nominee Purchaser
  • Freeholder must respond to the Notice within 2 months
  • Counter Notice served by the Freeholder within 2 months
  • If no Counter Notice is served after 2 months, the Nominee Purchaser must apply to the County Court within 6 months
  • If a Counter Notice is received, the Freeholder and Nominee Purchaser have 6 months in which to negotiate
  • If no agreement is reached, the Freeholder or Nominee Purchaser can apply to the First Tier Tribunal within 6 months of the Counter Notice having been received
  • Premium is agreed and the Freehold is purchased

How can South East Leasehold help?

South East Leasehold are an experienced team of Chartered Surveyors and Solicitors specialising in leasehold matters, lease extensions and freehold purchases across London and the South East. We are the first and only dedicated company to offer both valuation and legal service under one roof, offering unrivalled levels of knowledge and experience in the field of collective lease enfranchisements. If you are a group of leaseholders considering the purchase of your freehold, you couldn’t be in better hands.

As professional valuers, we will carry out an initial appraisal or full valuation as required. We will also advise on the exact statutory procedures to be followed for applying for the purchase and carry out all negotiations on your behalf. For in-depth information of how we can work with you to obtain the freehold to your property, read What will South East Leasehold do?

If you would like a quote for a freehold purchase, please complete the form here and we will send you a no obligation quote by email. The quote will detail the process and also our fees, which are all inclusive and cover both the valuation and the legal side.

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