Enfranchisement - the basics

Many Leaseholders have at the back of their mind the vague knowledge that they are able to force their Freeholder to sell the freehold of their block of flats to them. As long as certain criteria are met this is correct, and it is known as Freehold Enfranchisement.

If you are a long Leaseholder (your lease was for more than 21 years when first granted) of a residential flat in a block of 2 or more flats then you along with your fellow flat owners have the right, subject to certain limited exceptions, to force your Freeholder to sell you the Freehold of your block of flats. If there are commercial units as part of your block, so long as those units make up less than 25% of the total floor area of all of the floors in the building, the right to enfranchise remains.

There are many reasons why a group of Leaseholders would want to enfranchise their freehold; the current Freeholder may not look after the fabric of the building which may be affecting the flats themselves or their value; the service charges demanded year on year may be excessive compared to the work that's actually carried out at the property; the Freeholder may be completely absent and untraceable; or the Leaseholders may all simply want to extend their leases more than the statutory 90 year extension.

It is worthwhile speaking to the rest of the Leaseholders in your block of flats to gauge opinion, as to who may also be interested in ousting the current Freeholder and owning a share of the Freehold themselves. You will need 51% of long Leaseholders to participate for your statutory claim to be valid, and if interest is in the region of or above this level, it is sensible to arrange an informal meeting inviting all Leaseholders.

This informal meeting is useful in alleviating any concerns certain Leaseholders may have about the process, and Jamieson Alexander are happy to attend this first meeting free of charge to discuss in more detail the process, likely costs and timescales involved.

If you are considering enfranchising your freehold, or you are a Freeholder that has been served with statutory notice under the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 or the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 we are happy to meet with you and discuss your options and the next steps.


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