Leasehold enfranchisement enables flat owners to collectively come together and buy the freehold of their plot rather than having to extend individual leases over time.
What is leasehold enfranchisement?
Owning a leasehold flat can bring a range of issues from grossly inflated management fees, to worries when the leasehold is set to expire. One way to resolve these issues is to buy the freehold, or a share of the freehold of your property through leasehold enfranchisement.
Leasehold enfranchisement requires at least 50% of leaseholders to group together and serve notice on their landlord before the freehold purchase can go ahead. If done correctly, the landlord cannot refuse the purchase.
why should i enfranchise my lease?
One word: freedom. Owning the freehold or a share of the freehold means former leaseholders have the option to take on management of their own building as well as the ability to make any important decisions. It also means the new freeholders won’t need to pay any renewal premiums on their lease, or risk losing their property if the landlord refuses the renewal.
By owning a share of the freehold, any risk to your property’s price that comes with a lease that’s close to expiry is removed.
Lastly, if you intend for the property to be passed onto any next of kin through your will, the people who inherit your property won’t have to worry about renewing the leasehold, or devaluation.
What is the enfranchisement process?
The enfranchisement process goes as follows:
- The eligibility of both the tenants and the building itself will need to be checked
- Organising the enfranchisement (at least 50% of the eligible flats in a building must be involved)
- Assessment of the premium (the total amount that needs to be paid for the freehold)
- Serving the notice on the current freeholder
- Choosing the nominee purchaser
If 50% or more of the leaseholders want to purchase the freehold, then legally the landlord cannot refuse. The leaseholders will need to decide between themselves how to acquire and hold the freehold, for example by setting up a company, which will then be the nominee purchaser.
How a Lawyer Can Help you
Leasehold enfranchisement can be particularly complicated and if done incorrectly, the purchase can fall through or require re-approval.
Leasehold enfranchisement comes with a world of responsibilities, such as building management, fire safety and disrepair. Furthermore, disputes between freeholders can arise over a variety of things, such as the approach to the building management or individual responsibilities.
Having a lawyer on your side can be really beneficial, especially if you find yourself in the middle of a dispute with other freeholders. Our team can connect you to a lawyer who will provide you with all the information you might need, as well as any legal support and representation further down the line.
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