If you are eligible to apply to buy your freehold, (known as the right to enfranchise or collective enfranchisement), the most crucial time is before your lease falls below 80 years which is the same boundary line as for extending your lease. As you may be aware, it is at this stage that the level of premium you will have to pay to buy your freehold increases (the additional premium is known as marriage value).
Do some research of your own first and get familiar with the criteria to avoid time wasting and possible expense.
Do you have a burning collective enfranchisement question? Call our specialist Solicitors on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 for FREE initial phone advice – with no strings attached.
The essential enfranchisement questions – our handy checklist
Create a list of essential collective enfranchisement questions which need answers. Here are our suggestions:
- Have you considered the alternative of exercising your right to manage?
Click here to read more about differences between enfranchisement and the right to manage
- What is the name of your landlord and what are their contact details?
Click here to find out how we can help if you have a missing freeholder
- How best does your freeholder prefer to be contacted?
- Are you in dispute or disagree with any management issues or service charges?
- Have you tried to read an informal freehold purchase with your freeholder?
- How many flats are in your block? (enfranchisement also applies to leasehold houses – click here to find out if you can buy the freehold to your house)
- Have you contacted other tenants and asked their views about the right to enfranchise?
- How many in your block have expressed a wish to be included in enfranchisement?
NB consider getting them signed up to a participation agreement.
Click here to find out how a Participation Agreement can help you buy the freehold of your block
- Does anyone own 3 or more flats and for non-qualifying tenants?
- What is the size and type of the flat? i.e. number of rooms and floor area
- How many years are left on the existing lease?
- What is the amount of ground rent payable?
- What does this cover?
- Where is your flat located?
- Is your block new? Was it purpose built as a block of flats or old and converted?
- Are there any outbuildings such as garages?
- Is there a garden area?
- Do you know if any current planning applications for the property have been made?
- Do you know an experienced lawyer who can handle collective enfranchisement?
- Do you know a qualified surveyor who is compliant with the RICS regulations or can your solicitor recommend one?
- Are you aware of the difference between formal, informal and desktop valuations?
- Once the enfranchisement process has gone through, one final question –do all participating leaseholders want to extend their individual leases to 999 years without paying a premium?
Once you have this information to hand you will be in a stronger position from the start. You can try to informally negotiate a price with the freeholder.
Or, by consulting your solicitor, start formal UK collective enfranchisement proceedings: serving an initial notice on the freeholder, setting out your offer price for the freehold purchase.
Click here to read more about the collective enfranchisement process
Your collective enfranchisement – the importance of instructing a specialist solicitor and valuer
One final question to ask: is getting the right advice more valuable to you than the cheapest route possible? Consult a solicitor now and make sure that they specialise in the right to enfranchise!
Then, when you have decided to apply for collective enfranchisement of your block of flats, and after you have instructed a solicitor, you will also need to get an initial appraisal or enfranchisement valuation report from a surveyor.
Like appointing a specialist freehold solicitor, find a surveyor with plenty of experience in enfranchisement work. Like solicitors who specialise in this area of law, you will probably be surprised how few there are.
But don’t worry – since we deal with so many lease extensions and enfranchisement, we have a nationwide panel of surveyors who specialise in this kind of work and we are happy to introduce you to them or instruct them on your behalf.
This valuation will prepare the ground for negotiations with your freeholder to buy a share of your freehold.
And if negotiations fail, then you may become one of a relatively small number of people who find they need to make an application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) (previously known as the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal or LVT). In a formal hearing, your valuation report can be used as evidence to support the price you have offered to buy your freehold.
Click here to find out more about how the First Tier Property Tribunal works.
How can I identify a specialist UK collective enfranchisement solicitor and valuer?
Not sure how to identify a genuine enfranchisement specialist? We suggest 2 easy questions to ask;
- How many lease extension, enfranchisement, right of 1st refusal and leaseholders right to manage cases does your proposed solicitor and their team handle every year. Our specialists get through over 450 each and every year – and that number continues to grow. In total, we have helped something like 10,000 people either extend their leases or exercise the right to buy the freehold of their block. We also handle Shared Freehold Disputes
- Are they members of ALEP – the Association of Lease Enfranchisement Practitioners. ALEP members include solicitors, surveyors and block management companies who specialise in enfranchisement work.
Click here for more information on how lease enfranchisement works and how our specialist legal team can help you