Cookies are used on this website. Click here to read our Cookies Policy.

Areas of Law

020 7625 4424

Leasehold Enfranchisement

Leasehold Property and Houses

Freehold Purchase & Lease Extensions Claims

If you own a leasehold property, you only own it for a fixed period of time.

You’ll have a legal agreement with the landlord (sometimes known as the ‘freeholder’) called a ‘lease’. This tells you how many years you’ll own the property. Most flats are leasehold. Houses although much rarer can be leasehold too and may be found in and around London, Birmingham and other towns across the UK.

Find out more about our leasehold enfranchisement services.

Under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 (1967 Act) a tenant of a leasehold property has two rights:
  • The right to buy the freehold of your property (enfranchise); and
  • The right to extend your lease by 50 years.

If you own a leasehold house you normally have the right to buy the freehold after you have owned the lease for at least two years prior to making the application. If the lease is a business lease there are further restrictions which effectively mean that the lease to be for a term of greater than 35 years.

What are the benefits of buying the freehold?

Being a freeholder is more secure than being a tenant. Buying the freehold may make it easier to sell your home and may well probably increase its value. This is because freeholders have more control over the management of their homes.

Procedure

Buying the freehold (enfranchisement) of your property can be a very complicated process. The basic steps are explained below.

The first step is to inform the landlord that you want buy the freehold (the 'initial notice'). The notice is a legal document and has to contain a minimum set of information. Once the initial notice has been given, you become responsible for the landlord's legal costs (even if the process falls though).

The landlord then has to send you a reply ('counter notice'). There is no time limit on the landlord’s counternotice. If terms cannot be agreed the claim will be referred to the Property Chamber who will make a determination.

How much will it cost?

There is no easy way to work out how much you might have to pay for the freehold of your property. Try our leasehold extension calculator as a starting point. You will need to get a valuation to work out approximately how much the landlord will expect. It is almost impossible to work out a fixed price, so most valuers will give you a high and low price. The final price should be somewhere in between but you may still have to negotiate. You'll also have to pay all the solicitors' and surveyors' fees and legal costs (for both yourself and the landlord), which can be expensive.

Buying the freehold is only an option if you can afford it. It is usually more expensive than extending your lease and can be more complicated. Depending on your circumstances, extending your lease may be a better option, so you should get advice before making a decision.

We have a number of specialist enfranchisement valuers based in London or UK-wide who we work closely with and whom we can recommend.

If you are a tenant and wish to discuss your options for your leasehold property, please contact:

Main Contacts