In the United Kingdom, an owner of a flat is normally a leaseholder, with the freehold of the building often owned by another individual or company. The freeholder is responsible for managing and maintaining the building as a whole, and will pass the costs on to you and other leaseholders in the building in the form of a service charge. But what if you want more of a say in decisions that affect the property? This is where Leasehold Enfranchisement comes in!

What is Leasehold Enfranchisement?

Leasehold Enfranchisement is the term given to the process where a leaseholder purchase the freehold their property is in. Introduced under the 1993 Leasehold Reform Act, Leasehold Enfranchisement gives leaseholders a right, under certain conditions, to purchase the freehold of their properties even if the freeholder doesn’t wish to sell.

The first step in the process is to consult a solicitor to confirm that you meet the requirements for enfranchisement. If you do, the solicitor can then help in preparing the statutory notice that must be served on the freeholder.

This notice must include a valuation of the property which should be carried out by qualified professionals to avoid any negotiations being rejected by the court. Professional property valuation experts can not only accurately assess the market value of the building itself, but also the value of the freehold given the terms and remaining length of the individual leases.

It is also vital that you have the necessary finances in place before commencing the Leasehold Enfranchisement process.

What are the criteria to qualify for Leasehold Enfranchisement?

There are a number of criteria that must be met in order to have a statutory right to Leasehold Enfranchisement. If these criteria are not met, you may still be able to negotiate to purchase the freehold, or you may have a right to extend your lease.

The criteria are:

  • No more than 25% of the internal floor area of the property must be non-residential;
  • Of the flats, at least two-thirds must be let to ‘qualifying leaseholders’;
  • Not less than half of the lessees must participate in the enfranchisement, or both if there are only two flats.

How can AWH help?

We are highly experienced in preparing accurate and thorough valuations that can then be used as the basis for serving notice under the Act. In addition, we will work on your behalf throughout any negotiations that follow, ensuring that your interests are represented by professionals with an intimate understanding of the process, law, and factors that affect a valuation.

Speak to our expert advisors on 0800 071 5517 or email admin@awh.co.uk.

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