Since COVID-19 hit these shores last year, the government has implemented temporary measures to protect commercial tenants from having their leases forfeited or being forced into insolvency where they have been unable to pay rent as result of the pandemic on...
Leasehold Enfranchisement is the statutory process by which qualifying tenants on long leases have the right to renew the term of their lease or acquire the freehold of their building.
Other related statutory rights of qualifying tenants also include the right of first refusal whereby a landlord is obliged to offer their interest to tenants first before disposing of it and the right of tenants to manage their building.
These issues are notoriously complex involving highly specialist areas of law, so we strongly advise you to seek professional advice before taking action.
Our Leasehold Enfranchisement team is highly experienced in these matters and acts for tenants, residents’ associations and landlords alike. The team has particular experience with central London properties, but also acts for clients all across England and Wales.
Our leasehold enfranchisement solicitors offer clear and expert advice on both the non-contentious and contentious elements of the process, endeavouring to make it as simple and smooth-running as possible.
Our leasehold enfranchisement services
We offer specialist legal services for all of the issues related to leasehold enfranchisement for clients in London and throughout the South East.
Qualifying leasehold tenants have the right to extend their lease by an additional 90 years (for flats). We can guide you through the entire statutory lease renewal process, including serving a formal notice, making it simple and efficient for you to secure a lease extension.
Leasehold tenants living in blocks of flats may be able to buy the freehold on their building, depending on the circumstances. Known as collective enfranchisement, this can be a challenging and lengthy process, requiring a large number of people to work together effectively. Our solicitors have particular experience with collective enfranchisement, so can work with all parties to enable the process to go ahead efficiently with the minimum hassle.
If the freeholder decides to sell the freehold on your building, they must usually offer right of first refusal to purchase the premises to qualifying leaseholders. We can advise you on your options and guide you through the process of acquiring the freehold, as well as challenging any sale of the freehold where you feel your right of first refusal has not been honoured.
There are also a number of less well-known procedures that can be used by leaseholders, including Compulsory Acquisition by Tenants of their Landlord’s Interests under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987. These can be very useful mechanisms to rely on when there are specific issues, such as the freeholder failing to properly maintain the building.
Who qualifies for leasehold enfranchisement?
To be eligible for an individual lease extension, you will need to have been registered at the Land Registry as owner of the flat for at least 2 years, but you do not need to have lived in the property during this period. If you are the Personal Representative of a flat owner who has died, you may also be eligible, subject to particular rules.
To be eligible for collective leasehold enfranchisement, at least 50% of the flats in the building will need to participate. The building will need to contain a minimum of 2 flats and at least 75% of the internal floor area of the building (excluding common areas) must be residential.
There are various other factors that can affect tenants’ eligibility for leasehold enfranchisement, so we recommend contacting our residential property solicitors to discuss the matter further.
Our leasehold property expertise
Founded in 1953, Harold Benjamin has built a reputation as one of the UK’s leading law firms handling residential and commercial property matters. We have particular expertise in leasehold property, including leasehold enfranchisement, with Harold Benjamin being a member of the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP) and on the recommended panel of the Leasehold Advisory Service.
Harold Benjamin have achieved accreditation by the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) in recognition of the high quality of our property services and the firm is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
Speak to our leasehold enfranchisement solicitors now
If you would like to speak to us about our leasehold enfranchisement services, please contact Andy Finkel in our Harrow office 020 8872 3066 or visit your local Harold Benjamin office in the West End or Harrow.