Leasehold Enfranchisement

Leasehold Enfranchisement is dealt with by Sohale Sharif based at our Acocks Green office.

Sohale Sharif BA

Partner, Solicitor admitted 2000 ~ Sohale came into law in 1995, having previously trained as a chartered Accountant and is head of residential conveyancing at Acocks Green. He provides legal advice and services to both domestic and commercial property clients.

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What is leasehold enfranchisement?

It includes the purchase of the freehold interest in a house or extending its lease for 50 years.

It also includes the extension of a flat or maisonette lease for an additional 90 years (on top of the leasehold term that still remains unexpired) at a nil ground rent. It is achieved by the grant of a new lease.

Why is it important to do this?

Because once leases have less than 70 years (it used to be 60 years) left to run they are virtually impossible to sell except to a cash buyer or for a much reduced price. Banks and Building Societies will not generally lend to intending buyers when there are less than 70 years remaining; in some cases they may lend on less.

It encompasses the purchase of the freehold interest in a block of flats by its tenants either at the tenants’ instigation or under the right of first refusal legislation where the landlord wishes to sell. In both cases we generally act for all of the participating tenants.

As a general rule when property prices are low it is a good time “to enfranchise” as the price for doing so is less than it would otherwise be. It should also be remembered that the less years that are left on the lease the higher the price. The law relating to these matters is technical and complex. Critical time limits apply, which if missed have expensive consequences. We have dealt with very many of these transactions and continue to do so on a daily basis. Sometimes they require proceedings to be taken in the First Tier Property Tribunal (formerly the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal), the County Court, and the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) (formerly the Lands Tribunal). We are able to conduct these on behalf of our clients.

We also have experience in associated matters, such as Right to Manage, where tenants have the right to take over the management of their block of flats regardless of whether their landlord is at fault; Service Charge disputes; and all Landlord and Tenant issues whether they relate to the preparation of tenancies or leases or problems arising out of them.