Buying the Freehold
When it comes to buying the freehold of your block of flats, our lease extension solicitors are here to provide you with the legal support and guidance you need.
How can I acquire the freehold of my flat?
It is normally not possible to buy the freehold of just your particularly individual flat – this normally is achieved by you and your fellow flat owners collectively acquiring the freehold of the building in which your flats are situated. There are ordinarily two options available to you when it comes to buying the freehold of your building:
• Collective Enfranchisement
• Accepting a ‘Right of First Refusal’
‘Collective Enfranchisement’ is a legal term used for group of leaseholders (flat owners) proposing to buy the freehold of their building in accordance with a piece of law which entitles them to do this.
Buying the freehold from your landlord can be done privately, by negotiating with the freeholder, which we can assist you with, but if the landlord does not want to sell the freehold to you voluntarily the law provides that a group of leaseholders (meeting the necessary eligibility requirements) the ability to compel the landlord to sell the freehold to them.
You will need to satisfy a number of complex criteria in order to proceed to acquire the freehold – we will need to give you expert advice on this however, below are some of the main points to consider:
• There must be at least two flats in the building
• At least two thirds of the flats should be let to “qualifying leaseholders” –essentially this is a long lease at a low ground rent, but some leaseholders may still be excluded, so we would check this for you as part of your instructions to act for you
• At least 50% of the qualifying leaseholders must be prepared to join in acquiring the freehold
• No more than 25% of the floor area has commercial use
The law relating to Collective Enfranchisement is very complex and full of pitfalls; you should seek the expert advice of a solicitor experienced in leasehold enfranchisement.
Please contact Laura Russell to discuss your particular circumstances further and obtain our collective enfranchisement information sheet for further information on the statutory process and costs involved.
Accepting a 'Right of First Refusal'
Subject to certain eligibility requirements, a landlord wants to dispose of their freehold ownership will first need to offer it to the flat owners in the block; they will serve the flat owners with Offer Notice under Section 5 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 informally known as a ‘Right of First Refusal Notice’.
In order to take advantage of the right to acquire the freehold, enough of the flat owners will need to join together to serve an Acceptance Notice on the landlord. More than 50% of the qualifying leaseholders must be willing to join in this process. So, for example, if there are 10 flats in the building then at least 6 of you must join in with this procedure.
It is vital that you seek expert legal advice straight away if you have received such a notice, as if you miss the deadline to serve the Acceptance Notice, the landlord is free to sell the freehold to a third party.
Please contact our specialist leasehold enfranchisement solicitor, Laura Russell, to discuss your particular circumstances further and obtain our ‘Right of First Refusal’ information sheet for further information on the process and costs involved.
How do I begin purchasing the freehold?
The first step to purchasing the freehold is to seek legal advice from a solicitor well versed in leasehold enfranchisement. Buying the freehold is rarely a straightforward process; our leasehold enfranchisement solicitors can guide you through the process and will make you aware of all your legal rights regarding the purchase of a freehold.
If you are considering buying the freehold of your block of flats, don’t hesitate to contact Laura Russell, specialist leasehold enfranchisement solicitor based in Southampton on 02380 820528. Wherever you are based in the UK, our specialist team of lawyers can provide you with a first-rate legal service.