0370 1500 100
Conveyancing & Property Solicitors

Freehold Purchase (Leasehold Enfranchisement) Solicitors

If you own a leasehold property, purchasing the freehold or extending the lease can be a vital way to maintain or increase its value. Because the land is owned separately by a landlord, it can be hard to sell a leasehold property or raise a mortgage for it.

Our expert solicitors have extensive experience in a wide range of leasehold enfranchisement options, including:

  • Lease extension
  • Individual purchase of the freehold
  • Collective enfranchisement (where a number of tenants wish to buy the freehold)
  • Right to manage (tenants take management of a building without buying the freehold)
  • Tenant's right of first refusal to buy the freehold of a building
  • Auction sales and rights of first refusal
  • Residential management matters such as Deeds of Covenant or Licences for Alterations
  • Residents Associations

You only own a leasehold property for the extent of the lease - your landlord has permanent ownership, or 'freehold' of the land and building. When the time left on the lease of a flat drops below 80 years, the property becomes significantly more difficult to sell. The premium payable to the landlord for extending the lease also goes up.

This has a considerable effect on its market value and may have implications for your future financial plans. As a leasehold tenant you are also restricted in what alterations you can make to the property, subletting and the use of the property.

Leasehold enfranchisement can raise the value of your property and offer you more security. Whether you are a landlord or an individual tenant or part of a group, we can advise you of your rights. Call today for a no obligation consultation on 0370 1500 100 - or fill out our online enquiry form.

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Leasehold Enfranchisement - More Information
    • What Is Conveyancing?
    • The term 'conveyancing' covers all the legal and administrative work needed when buying and selling property or transferring ownership of land and buildings from one person to another. For a standard transaction this might include:

      • Investigation of the title of the property
      • Document preparation
      • Writing and exchanging contracts
      • Payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax
      • Registration at the Land Registry.

      There are many legal requirements which need to be met before a change in ownership of any property can take place. The process can be complicated and stressful but our team of specialist conveyancing solicitors will help make your transaction as smooth as possible.

      Read more in our Conveyancing Guide.

    • What Does Conveyancing Cost?
    • The cost of conveyancing for buying, selling, or remortgaging a property can include:

      • Conveyancer's fees plus VAT
      • Search expenses
      • Freeholder fees
      • Land Registry fees

      The exact fees you have to pay depend on the specifics of your transaction.

      Our Conveyancing Calculator will give you an instant conveyancing costs quote for properties worth up to £500,000. It will calculate our legal fees and estimate the Land Registry Fees and Search Fees for your transaction.

      Use our Conveyancing Fees Calculator today to work out how much your transaction will cost. For properties valued above £500,000, please call 0370 1500 100 or contact us online.

      You’ll also have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on certain property transactions. Learn more in our Stamp Duty Guide.

    • Meet The Team
    • Our Conveyancing and Property solicitors form one of the largest and most experienced teams in the country. Members of our team are regularly recognised as leading experts in their field by top legal directories Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners.

      Whenever you contact our team you can expect friendly, enthusiastic advice and support. We understand that buying or selling property can be a complicated and stressful process which is why we are dedicated to making your transaction as simple and stress-free as possible.

      Meet our team of expert conveyancing and property solicitors.

The service I received was outstanding. It made the process of selling my house much less stressful."

Ms C, Client
Ms A C

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Different Options For Leasehold Enfranchisement?

There may be a number of different options available to you if you own a leasehold property. The main two are:

  • Extend the lease
  • Buy the freehold

Both these options are open to groups of tenants (collective enfranchisement) as well as individuals.

To extend the lease as an individual, you must fulfil certain criteria:

  • The original lease must have been granted for an initial term of more than 21 years
  • You need to have been the registered proprietor of the lease for at least two years

You are the registered proprietor from the date that you register the purchase of your house with the Land Registry. You can also transfer your right to extend a lease to a buyer. This means anyone buying your property will not have to wait the two years to extend the lease.

To buy the freehold of your property, it must legally qualify as a 'house'. The definition for this in law is quite broad, however, and may include:

  • A shop with a flat above
  • A building converted into flats

It cannot be used for purely commercial reasons, however, even if it was originally built as a house. It must also have no material overlapping with another building.

If there is a commercial element to the property - if you live above a business, for example - you may be required to fulfil a residence test to prove that you have lived at the property for two years, or for periods that amount two full years across the past ten years.

The rules for leasehold enfranchisement can appear complicated - however, we have the experience and expertise to offer you the advice you need. Call us today on 0370 1500 100.

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What Are My Options For Collective Enfranchisement?

Almost all flats are leasehold properties. If you live in a building with a number of other tenants, you may wish to apply to buy the freehold together. This is known as collective enfranchisement.

Collective enfranchisement often allows tenants to have management of their building and their service charges. It is also likely to increase the value of their individual property as it can be advertised as having a share of the freehold.

Tenants who buy the freehold together usually grant themselves a 999 year lease with what is known as a 'peppercorn ground rent'. This is a nominal fee to replace the original ground rent being paid to the landlord. They are issued with a share in the company that is set up to buy the freehold. If collective enfranchisement is possible it can be a valuable asset for all property owners within the building.

In order to buy the freehold, certain criteria must be met:

  • At least two thirds of all the leases must be let to eligible tenants
  • At least half the flats must want to buy the freehold
  • The building must be self-contained, with 25% or less for non-residential use

If the building has only two flats, both tenants must buy the freehold.

When collective enfranchisement is not an option, another alternative is Right To Manage. Setting up a Right To Manage company (RTM) allows the tenants to transfer management of their building from the landlord to themselves. If you are not in a position to buy the freehold of your building, Right To Manage can provide a practical alternative to have more control over your service charges and the day-to-day management of your building.

If you live in a leasehold flat, Irwin Mitchell can advise you of your options. Call the team today on 0370 1500 100, or use our online enquiry form.

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Why Choose Irwin Mitchell?

Our expert team has extensive experience dealing with all kinds of leasehold enfranchisement needs for a wide range of clients. Unlike many law firms, we do not exclusively work for either tenants or landlords, which gives us valuable insight from both perspectives.

Tenants we represent include:

  • Owner occupiers
  • Investors
  • Developers

We also act for a number of established landlords, including:

  • Friends Life
  • Aviva Investors
  • Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited
  • Christ's Hospital Foundation

Our lawyers deal with the full range of properties, from first buyers' homes to luxury real estate in central London. Whatever your property needs, our team has the expertise to advise you.

We offer a clear fee structure, so you know exactly what you're paying from the start. At all stages we'll keep you up-to-date and informed, and we'll give you all the information you need to make the right decision for you and your property.

We are a member of the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP), a professional body committed to promoting best practice and maintaining the highest standards in the sector. Many of our team are ranked in the top legal guides Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500.

At all times we will try to achieve your goal as efficiently and with as little stress as possible. Sometimes in property matters, however, it may become necessary to go to court (or tribunal). If this is the case, you can count on us as experienced litigators to represent your best interests and secure the outcome that you need.

For more details get in touch today - you can call on 0370 1500 100 or use our online enquiry form and we'll call you back.

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Awards & Accreditation

We're always proud to be recognised for the work we do for our clients and have been named as a leading firm in the latest legal guides - which provide information and recommendations about lawyers and law firms in the UK.

Private Client Team of the Year - Legal Business Awards 2018 Leading Firm - Legal 500 2017 UK Chambers & Partners Leading Firm 2018

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