Is it worth buying the freehold of our block of flats?

This is a difficult question to answer, as the law and valuation elements are complex. If you have a challenging freeholder or managing agent and a high number of leaseholders wanting to take part, then yes. It can be finely balanced, but you can talk it through with us and we can help you make a decision.

How do I purchase the freehold of my flat?

You can work together with your fellow leaseholders in your block and buy the freehold interest collectively, provided that there are at least 50% of you taking part, but you cannot buy the freehold of an individual flat. Once you have at least 50% taking part, you can serve a Notice of Claim on the freeholder, and we then negotiate the price payable for the block and any property or land that could be included.

A collective enfranchisement claim is the process above – it is getting together with leaseholders in the block to buy the freehold interest as a collective group.

How do you qualify for enfranchisement and does everyone need to agree to buy the freehold?

A qualifying interest is a lease that is more than 21 years long. You do not have to have owned the property for any length of time and do not have to live in it. If you have at least 50% of leaseholders wanting to buy the freehold interest, the remaining leaseholders do not have to agree to it or take part for you to buy the freehold interest as a group. However, those in the group will need to agree the price, once negotiations begin.

A freeholder cannot refuse to sell the freehold interest if you meet all the criteria – leases of more than 21 years and more than 50% taking part. The Notice needs to be valid, which means you will need an expert solicitor to draft it and also our valuation advice, as the figure is split between the block itself, any ground and garages etc. It needs to be a figure based in reality, so based upon a professional valuation, which is what we can do for you.

What is a share of the freehold?

When you have bought the freehold, you will have a share of the freehold. You will normally be a shareholder in a company that owns the freehold and have voting rights in important decisions. In every case, we advise clients to make sure that the first thing you do is grant yourselves lease extensions to 999 years with no ground rent, then you will never have to worry about your lease. This does not happen automatically and if it is not done can create huge problems with tax liabilities and fairness later down the line.

Here at Lawrence & Wightman, we’ve dealt with many successful collective enfranchisement cases in the Midlands – and this allows us to advise you on all the important areas—such as how to start the process, what to do, and the hurdles you’ll need to overcome.

We’ll work closely with your solicitor and provide tailored valuation advice as well as expert negotiation skills to obtain the best possible price for everyone. Call us on 0121 779 0999 to see how we can help you.