Lease enfranchisement

 

Lease enfranchisement is also known as collective enfranchisement. The system allows any collection of people that live in a property with leasehold status to force their landlord to sell the freehold of their property to them.

This right is part of the Leasehold Reform Act 1993. Note that this right only applies to domestic property and not commercial businesses that may share premises.

If you are thinking about lease enfranchisement, call us and we can recommend a specialist property lawyer to assist you through the process.

The benefits of lease enfranchisement

The main advantage of obtaining leasehold enfranchisement is that you and your fellow owners become both the landlord and the tenant. This enables you to extend the lease of the property you now own to up to 999 years. Also, because you are now the landlord of your property, enfranchisement in effect allows you to live in your house or flat rent free.

Leasehold enfranchisement allows you more control over the maintenance and upkeep of your building, as you no longer have to rely on your landlord for repairs. And moreover, enfranchisement allows you to avoid what can be very high service charges. You may also be able to remortgage the property more easily if you need to, and your property will usually be easier to sell.

Leasehold enfranchisement is usually available to you if you meet the following criteria:

  • There must be at least two tenants in your building that want to apply for lease enfranchisement
  • Your original lease must be for at least 21 years
  • You do not, as with lease extensions, have to have been a tenant for at least two years

As with all changes to the status of a property, it is vitally important to secure the services of a solicitor preferably with experience of lease enfranchisement. This is a specialist area of property law that must be administered correctly, to ensure your new freehold lease meets all of the current property regulations.

A solicitor can also be very useful if your landlord contests your application for lease enfranchisement. Your solicitor can help you interpret the Lease Reform Act in the context of your application.

How to apply for lease enfranchisement

If you live in a property with a number of other people, you can apply for what is called leasehold enfranchisement. Note that leasehold enfranchisement only applies to domestic property. If you are using a building with a number of other businesses, enfranchisement law does not apply.

The enfranchisement process usually starts with a survey of your property that will give you an accurate valuation. It is a good idea to instruct a surveyor that has experience of the leasehold enfranchise market. Also, a solicitor that is experienced with leasehold enfranchisement will be invaluable especially if you have to go to a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal.

Are you thinking about lease enfranchisement or are you in dispute with your landlord over the lease? Contact Law can put you in touch with specialist property solicitors who can manage the process on your behalf. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above and we will call you back.

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