Leasehold Enfranchisement Solicitors in London

If you own a leasehold property and want to extend your lease or purchase the freehold, you will need to go through the process of leasehold enfranchisement. This gives qualifying tenants the legal right to extend their lease or buy the freehold on their leasehold property, once rules of qualification have been satisfied in accordance with legislation.

Leasehold enfranchisement is a complicated area of law, which is why many firms, though they may provide general services in property transactions, do not handle freehold enfranchisement or lease extensions.

Housing and Property Law Partnership (HPLP) is a specialist law firm located in central London that focuses exclusively on property law. We provide specialist expertise for those wishing to buy their freeholds or extend their leases, making the process as simple and stress-free as possible.

For more information or to start the leasehold enfranchisement process, please contact Ash Oberoi.

DEFINING LEASEHOLD ENFRANCHISEMENT

Our solicitors explain key terms and procedures in plain English, so our clients always understand what their options are. The following are some of the key terms covered by the area of law commonly called ‘leasehold enfranchisement’.

This area of law is governed by the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 and the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 for flats and the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 for houses.

Statutory leasehold extensions

If you wish to extend the lease on your flat, you may have a statutory right to do so, depending on the circumstances and the provisions of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993. This means the landlord cannot refuse the lease extension.

To qualify for statutory lease extension, you must have owned the flat for at least two years and the lease must be a ‘long lease’ i.e. it was originally granted for 21 years or more. If you meet these conditions, you are referred to as a ‘qualifying tenant’.

Under this process your existing lease will be extended by a further 90 years and your ground rent will be reduced to a Peppercorn Rent which is a nil rent.

There is a strict legal process that must be followed, including giving the correct notice to the current freeholder and observing strict time limits in accordance with the legislation.

In exercising this right you must compensate your Landlord. The compensation is calculated in accordance with the legislation and we work closely with surveyors and valuers who have expertise in this area of law who can work this out for you.

Generally, the compensation you pay will be calculated on the number of years you have left on your lease. If you have more than 80 years remaining on your lease you pay the landlord compensation for the loss of the Ground Rent for the unexpired term of your lease.

If the lease has less than 80 years remaining then you pay your Landlord extra compensation called ‘Marriage Value’ Compensation. The compensation you pay increases every year the lease falls below 80 years.

It is advisable to start the process as quickly as possible if your lease is approaching the 80 year mark or if it has fallen below 80 years.

Freehold enfranchisement

If you wish to buy the freehold on your leasehold property, your right to do so will depend on the circumstances

If the property is a house, you will usually have the right to buy the freehold as long as you are a qualifying tenant in accordance with the provisions of the Leasehold Reform Act 1967. You are a qualifying tenant if you have owned your house for more than 2 years and if the lease was originally granted for a term if more than 21 years.

If the property is a flat, you will usually only be able to buy the property through collective enfranchisement as explained below. Your rights to purchase the freehold are set out in the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 and the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987.  .

Collective enfranchisement

This is the process by which leasehold flat owners can come together to buy the freehold of their block of flats. Freehold ownership not only gives leaseholders legal ownership of the land upon which the building sits upon and any communal grounds you enjoy the use of under your lease but also gives you control over repairs, service charges and management decisions.

To qualify for collective enfranchisement at least 50% of the flats in the building must participate and all of the owners must be qualifying tenants under the leasehold enfranchisement rules.

Unlike statutory lease extensions (mentioned above) you need not have had to have owned your flat for more than 2 years to start the process.

There is a strict legal process that must be followed, including giving the correct notice to the current freeholder and observing strict time limits in accordance with the legislation.

In exercising this right you must compensate your Landlord. The compensation is calculated in accordance with the legislation and we work closely with surveyors and valuers who have expertise in this area of law who can work this out for you.

Generally, the compensation you pay will be calculated on the number of years left remaining on all the leases in the building. If there is more than 80 years remaining on the leases you pay the landlord compensation for the loss of the Ground Rent for the unexpired term of the leases.

If the leases have less than 80 years remaining then you pay your Landlord extra compensation called ‘Marriage Value’ Compensation. The compensation you pay increases every year the leases fall below 80 years.

It is advisable to start the process as quickly as possible if the leases in the building are approaching the 80 year mark or if they has fallen below 80 years.

Right of first refusal

When the landlord of a freehold property intends to sell the freehold, they must give the current tenants/leaseholders the ‘right of first refusal’, giving them the option to buy the freehold under the provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987

Landlords must follow the correct procedure when doing so, including giving the right notice to tenants. If a landlord fails to follow the right process, tenants can challenge the sale and potentially force the landlord to sell to them instead of any other agreed buyer.

Right to Manage

If you are unhappy with how your block is managed, you could also consider exercising your Right to Manage under the provisions of the Commonhold Leasehold Reform Act 2002 where applicable. This allows qualifying tenants in a block of flats to work together to take over the management of the building, giving them the responsibility for day-to-day running of the block or to appoint their own managing agents.

WHY CHOOSE HPLP FOR LEASEHOLD ENFRANCHISEMENT?

Our firm is recognised for the leadership and expertise we have in this field of property law. There are many statutory deadlines and missing one of them means you may lose your right to sell or buy your freehold.

As accredited members of the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP) and noted on the government's LEASE website, we are familiar with all relevant legislation and work directly with clients to ensure they make informed decisions and follow all proper procedures. For more information, please review our successful case studies.

In 2012, HPLP came second in the National Enfranchisement and Right To Manage awards and was "Highly Commended." The awards were sponsored by News on the Block and Tanfield Chambers.

On 4 June 2015 HPLP again came second in the Country in the National Enfranchisement and Right-To-Manage awards and was ‘Highly Commended’.

On 4 August 2016 Ash Oberoi was voted winner in the Finance Monthly Global Awards 2016 Leasehold Enfranchisement Lawyer of the Year UK

GET IN TOUCH WITH OUR LEASEHOLD ENFRANCHSEMENT LAWYERS IN LONDON

To find out if freehold enfranchisement is an option for you, please contact Ash Oberoi for clear, practical advice.