Leasehold Enfranchisement / Extension

As the owner of a leasehold property legislation allows you to extend your existing Lease, take over the management of the common parts (collectively with your neighbours) and/or purchase the freehold (in the case of a house on your own and of a flat collectively with neighbours). Mandy Cowen at our Harpenden office has specialist knowledge in respect of all aspects of Lease extensions, Leasehold enfranchisements and Right to Manage claims. She acts for individual leaseholders, groups of leaseholders, freeholders, management companies and managing agents in respect of the process. Whilst the legislation empowers leaseholders in this way, it is complex and extremely detailed. In order to ensure that the process is effective you need to use a specialist solicitor with considerable experience of the procedures involved. The legislation has been developed to make it considerably easier for leaseholders to take these actions but as the consequences for the freeholder are so great the legislation requires accurate and precise notification and adherence to deadlines and timescales. 

We have outlined a brief overview of the legislation below: -

The Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (as amended) allows qualifying leaseholders to extend by an additional term of 90 years, at a peppercorn rent. The additional 90 years is in addition to the present unexpired term. If  you have a short lease (anything under 70 years can be difficult to raise finance on) & are having problems trying to sell or remortgage your property or if your current Lease contains a provision for substantial ground rents then it could be that it would be essential or certainly advisable to make an application to extend under the terms of this Act. This procedure is open to all leaseholders who meet the qualification criteria and you would not require the co-operation of the other leaseholders in your building or estate. For more information on qualification criteria and the process generally please contact Mandy Cowen.

The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 provides an opportunity for leaseholders to run their own affairs and to make their own decisions about the management and upkeep of their properties and common areas, including insurance, repairs, service charges and required works.

The leaseholders in a building will need to cooperate and a majority of the leaseholders will need to agree to take this action. The landlord's consent to the transfer of the management arrangements is not required and even where there is an absent Landlord the leaseholders should be able to secure the management via RTM. There is no need to prove any mismanagement by the landlord or the current managing agent to implement the right. As long as the leaseholders are qualifying leaseholders and as long as a sufficient number of them agree to participate then the right is an absolute right and the freeholder/managing agent cannot prevent the transfer of management powers. 

The leaseholders (via what is known as an RTM Company which they set up and own) have control of all management functions. In the majority of cases this will result in improvements in the management and a substantial reduction in the monies spent on repairs, maintenance, management fees, insurance premiums etc. 

For more information on qualification criteria and the process generally please contact Mandy Cowen.

 

 

The 1993 Leasehold Reform Act (as amended) provides the right for the  leaseholders (via a special Company - the Right to Enfranchise Company) to compel the Landlord to sell the Freehold to them at a fair market price determined by valuer if not agreed. 

The procedures are similar to those involved in RTM applications and as with RTM the Freeholder cannot object to the transfer other than on the grounds that an insufficient number of leaseholders are participating and/or that the participating leaseholders do not themselves qualify. 

Once an RTE application has been successful the participating leaseholders will collectively own the freehold of the building/block or estate through the RTE company. Owning a share of the freehold of the building in addition to your long lease will substantially increase the saleability of the property and potentially also increase its value. If as an example the leaseholders own on relatively short and archaic Leases then these Leases can be extended and modernised at little cost other than the legal fees involved whereas a private Freeholder will seek to charge substantial sums for even the most minor of amendments to a Lease. 

For more information on qualification criteria and the process generally please contact Mandy Cowen.

Mandy has produced a simple guide to the Extension process which is available as a downloadable pdf format. Click here to download