Any resident that lives in a leasehold property has the legal right to purchase the freehold of that building from their freeholder, more commonly referred to as their landlord. Enfranchisement is a process through which owners of flats in a building can join together and purchase the freehold of the building from the landlord.
The Leasehold Reform Housing & Urban Development Act 1993 outlines the qualifying criteria that tenants must meet before they are legally entitled to buy the freehold without the freeholder being allowed to refuse.
If a group of tenants living in flats wants to buy the freehold to the property, at least 50% of the qualifying tenants must be involved. The process of serving the landlord with a notice and organising all of the paperwork is quite complicated. It is important to ensure that you qualify, so it is best to go through a solicitor.
Not all leaseholders qualify for enfranchisement and before the process can get started. It is important to check the building itself and the tenants are eligible. Any building must have at least two flats in it to qualify for enfranchisement.
At least two thirds of the flats must be owned by qualifying tenants. A qualifying tenant includes anybody that has a lease longer than 21 years when first granted. The average lease on a flat is either 99 years or 125 years, so this is not usually a problem. Shared ownership leases or any lease granted under the ‘right to buy’ laws also qualify.
However, even if a tenant meets the above requirements, there are some situations where enfranchisement is still not possible. If the landlord is a charitable housing trust and the flats are provided as part of their charity activities, the building does not qualify. If a tenant owns more than two flats, either on their own or jointly, they will not be considered as part of the qualifying two thirds in the building. Enfranchisement also does not cover business or commercial leases.
Many leaseholders wonder what the benefits of enfranchisement are. If you hold the lease, you still own your flat and can do what you like with it, so why go down the route of enfranchisement?
The first big benefit is that you own the freehold so you can extend your own lease without the need for a time consuming and expensive lease extension claim.
Many people opt for enfranchisement if they are unhappy with their landlord. If the freeholder has let the building fall into disrepair, enfranchisement gives you the opportunity to take control. You have the freedom to make any repairs that you like
You can also use the services of companies like BRAC Developments. BRAC Developments can help you to release the biggest asset you have right now. We realise the potential of your building’s roof space and specialise in the redevelopment of flat roofs above existing residential and commercial buildings.
Want to know more? Get in touch today. Why not call us on 01268 573933 or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information about our full service range can be found on our website.