Purchasing your Freehold
Although most leasehold properties are flats, there are a number of new-build homes that are leasehold. As you may have seen in the press, in some instances, leaseholders owning houses have been faced with unforeseen costs and conditions imposed by freeholders when they have tried to buy their freeholds. This has led to the government asking the Law Commission to investigate.
However, leaseholders do have legal rights when it comes to buying their freehold, giving them greater control over their property. We can provide them with the help and advice they need if they are thinking of going this route.
What is collective enfranchisement?
This is the process by which a group of leasehold tenants can act together to collectively purchase the freehold of their block of flats at a fair price. Once they have purchased the freehold, they can grant themselves new leases or extend their length, remove anomalies in the current leases and control the management of the building.
In order to claim collective enfranchisement, leaseholders must currently* satisfy a number of requirements, which include:
- At least two-thirds of the properties must be owned by qualifying tenants – those who were originally granted leases for at least 21 years
- Participating leaseholders must own at least half of the flats, which must exceed at least two flats in total
- A leaseholder cannot participate if he owns three or more flats in the building
- If the property is partly non-residential, leaseholders cannot proceed if the non-residential element is more than a quarter of the building
- A building converted into four flats or less with a resident landlord may not qualify for enfranchisement.
Here to help
If you’re interested in purchasing your freehold, then we have the expertise to help you accomplish your goal. We offer straightforward advice delivered in plain English, and can help you negotiate with your freeholder and assist you in getting the necessary valuation done.
*Leasehold home ownership: buying your freehold or extending your lease – provisional proposals announced
Under proposals announced on 20th September 2018, the Law Commission sets out ideas that could, if they are brought into law following a period of consultation, see the introduction of a new single enfranchisement regime.
Government estimates show that there are currently 4.2 million leasehold houses and flats in England. The current legal system governing leasehold properties arises from over 50 acts of parliament, with different rules governing leaseholds on flats and houses.
The government is committed to a ban on leaseholds for almost all new-build houses and wants to see ground rents restricted.
We welcome these proposals and look forward to reviewing the consultation findings when they are published.