Under current legislation, a group of leaseholders has the right to purchase the freehold of their building provided certain conditions are satisfied.
Lease enfranchisement is the process by which you, as part of a group of leaseholders (collective enfranchisement), can purchase the freehold.
Can I buy the freehold of my property by lease enfranchisement?
You will need to satisfy the following conditions:
- The building must have at least two flats held by qualifying tenants
- If there are only two flats in the building both flats of qualifying tenants must participate
- The total number of flats held by qualifying tenants is not less than two-thirds of the total number of flats in the premises
- At least 50% of the qualifying tenants must participate
- The original lease must have been granted for a term exceeding 21 years
A qualifying tenant is a tenant of a flat with a long lease ie. 21 years or more. There is no requirement either for a tenant to have owned the lease for any period or for occupation of the flat as a main residence.
How much does it cost?
As assessment is made by a surveyor in three parts, based on the value of the ground rent; the value of the freeholder’s reversion at the end of the lease and half of the so-called marriage value. Marriage value is the increase in value when the freehold and leasehold interests are combined or ‘married’ together. Marriage values are only applied to leases with less than 80 years to run.
What is the process for purchasing the freehold?
The leaseholders form a resident’s flat management company and a solicitor serves notice on the freeholder, making a monetary offer for the freehold. The freeholder either accepts or serves a counter-notice giving his asking price. The two parties then negotiate a price. If this fails then either side can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal who will determine a price.
For smaller blocks of leasehold properties it may not be necessary to obtain the freehold interest in this way.