Buying the Freehold of Your Block of Flats
Leasehold enfranchisement is the legal term used when leaseholders buy the freehold of their block of flats. Generally speaking, ownership of the freehold gives you control over repairs, service charges and other management issues. Each of the tenants participating will become a part owner of a company which they form to manage the building. This membership gives them a say in all decisions taken.
Leasehold enfranchisement is a distinct area of the law. Many firms do not provide leasehold enfranchisement as it requires specialist expertise. Mistakes can happen if the correct procedures are not followed. Thankfully, at Housing and Property Law Partnership (HPLP), property law, including buying your freehold or extending your lease, are our specialities.
Benefits of Buying Your Freehold
When tenants/leaseholders are unhappy with the management of their property, they can retain the right to manage it themselves by purchasing the freehold from the landlord or property owner. The benefits of a buying your freehold include:
- Frees you from the problems caused by landlords
- Tenant/leaseholder control of freehold is often attractive for buyers - estate agents frequently refer to it by saying that the purchaser will obtain 'a share of the freehold'
- Gives you control of the management of the block, service charges and the granting of lease extensions and lease variations
- If a number of tenants/leaseholders have 'short' leases they may find it more cost-effective to buy the freehold collectively rather than each seeking a lease extension separately.
Does my block of flats qualify?
In order to purchase a freehold, tenants must meet two requirements:
- The building must be not more than 25% non-residential
- At least two thirds of the flats must be let to qualifying tenants
In general, qualifying tenants are those who have long leases (i.e. originally granted for more than 21 years). If the building qualifies, at least half of the qualifying tenants must participate in order to initiate a collective purchase.
Why Choose HPLP?
There are many statutory deadlines and dates to follow, and missing any one of them means you may lose your right to sell or buy the freehold. Our solicitors are recognised experts and accredited members of the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP). We are also noted on the government LEASE website and have hosted seminars, lectures and presentations on leasehold enfranchisement for leading barristers, surveyors and other professionals working in this area of the law.
We also offer free initial advice of up to a half-hour and fixed fee estimates so you know what you will be charged should you choose to go ahead with the purchase with our guidance.
To find out if it might be suitable to buy the freehold of your block of flats contact our firm to speak with solicitors Ash Oberoi or Shamin Kashem for free and discuss your situation in greater detail.