Our Services

Freehold Enfranchisement

If you are a flat owner subject to meeting a certain qualifying criteria you are able to force your freeholder to sell the freehold to you. This process is known as collective enfranchisement. Our enfranchisement solicitors can provide you with information you need for both freehold and leasehold properties.

Unlike the right to extend your lease there is not a two year ownership qualification period and therefore even if you have recently brought your flat you will be able to act immediately.

The key benefits of collective enfranchisement are: 

  • You acquire control of the management of your building (and therefore the service charge).
  • You can grant yourselves extended leases of 999 years.
  • You can put right defects in your leases and change your leases to include additional parts of the building such as an un-let roof or basement space.
  • You can develop the building or sell off parts such as a roof space to a developer. 
  • You will no longer have to pay ground rent.  
  • To overcome missing or difficult Landlord issues

The qualifying criteria

A flat owner is able to participate if they hold their flat on a long lease (one originally granted for more than 21 years).

Subject to some exceptions, the qualifying criteria is in essence broken down into two parts, the building must qualify and the flat owners exercising the right must qualify:-

  • The Building – to qualify the building must contain at least two thirds of the flats held by flat owners holding long leases.If the building contains a commercial element i.e. the flats are above a shop, you may still qualify if the commercial element consists of less than 25% of the building.
  • Flat Owners – the participating flat owners must own at least 50% of the flats in the building between them. 

There is no requirement for flat owners to invite all the flat owners to participate in the collective enfranchisement claim, if there are enough participating tenants in order to proceed without them.

If your leases have just over 80 years unexpired you need to act very urgently before any of them drop below 80 years. For leases with a term of under 80 years then marriage value becomes payable to the freeholder. Marriage value is an additional premium payable to your freeholder once the lease term expires below 80 years which makes the claim for the freehold considerably more expensive.

The Procedure

For a detailed summary of the procedure involved in a collective enfranchisement claim please see our Flowcharts Parts 1 & 2 and Part 3 in the Resources Section of this page (above to the left side).

Missing Freeholders

We are also able to assist if  your freeholder is ‘missing’. Further, in the event that your leases are under 80 years and the freeholder is both missing and not performing its obligations under your leases then there is a possibility that we will be able to make an application for an Acquisition Order under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987. By obtaining an Acquisition Order you would not be required to pay marriage value and therefore you would save a considerable sum of money.

How we can help

If you are considering acquiring your freehold we are able to help you. We are experts in this field and also members of the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP) (see article to the left).We understand the technicalities and all angles of the legislation and will provide you with the best advice to achieve your objectives. We will always work closely with your instructed valuer to ensure that you achieve the very best result saving you costs where possible.

For an initial discussion about the freehold or leasehold collective enfranchisement procedure or extending your Lease please contact Joanna Botley or Jade Wilson.