Expert View: The top 3 questions about leasehold enfranchisement

Craig Rennie, HRJ Foreman Laws. Picture: HRJ Foreman Laws

Craig Rennie, HRJ Foreman Laws. Picture: HRJ Foreman Laws - Credit: Archant

Craig Rennie, from the residential property department at HRJ Foreman Laws Solicitors, of Hitchin, Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City, is back to answer some questions about leasehold enfranchaise-ment.

Q1: My landlord wants to sell the freehold, do I have any rights?

Yes. If you are a residential tenant of a flat and your landlord proposes to sell their freehold interest they are obligated to follow a statutory procedure which provides the tenants with the right of first refusal.

If you receive such a notice from your landlord it is important that you consult with your neighbours and ascertain whether they wish to collectively purchase the freehold within the time period stated in the landlord's notice.

You should also take independent legal advice in good time prior to the expiration of the acceptance period.

Q2: Can I buy the freehold of my leasehold house?

Yes, if you are a qualifying tenant, (you must have owned the house for at least two years), you have a statutory right to acquire the freehold or extend your lease. The lease must be a long lease which is a term granted for at least 21 years.

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A purchase price is payable to the landlord for the acquisition of the freehold and is agreed between the parties and in the absence of any agreement by the residential property division of the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). You should obtain a valuation of the premium to ascertain what you should pay.

Q3: Can we collectively buy the freehold of our block of flats?

Yes, there is a collective right for residential tenants who hold long leases (for a term over 21 years) to buy the freehold and any intermediate leasehold interest of a building together with any common areas they have a right to use under the terms of their lease.

In order to qualify at least two thirds of the flats in the building must be held by qualifying tenants and the notice initiating the collective enfranchisement process must be given by the tenants of at least half the flats in the building.

The purchase is made by a nominated purchaser. There are no restraints on who the nominated purchaser may be and typically this will be a special purpose company owned by the tenants who wish to participate in the enfranchisement.

If you need advice email:

Tel: 01462 458711 or 01707 887700