Looking into buying the Freehold of your Leasehold?

Oct 16, 2017

Leasehold ownership of a home may not always feel like it’s enough.

This straightforward right to use the property for a set number of years under the overall control of the freeholder can be restrictive. And although a leaseholder will not usually be responsible for the property’s significant maintenance, related charges together with ground rent can present particular financial challenges, as well as causing tension and disagreements from time to time.  

Owning the freehold, on the other hand, allows  you to take control of maintenance, management and their associated costs, as well as making it easier to make alterations to the property (subject to planning). It is a step that many people choose to take in order to become more responsible for, and enjoy greater freedom in respect of, their home.  And it usually boosts their property’s value, too.

The opportunity to buy the freehold – the outright ownership of your home - is one that we always advise clients to consider. And the law gives eligible leaseholders specific rights when it comes to this sort of property move.

Eligibility, and the process that would need to be followed, depends on whether you are the leaseholder of a flat or a house. While there is nothing to stop either type of leaseholder asking the freeholder directly for a deal, there is also a formal route that can be taken to invoke a legal right to buy, but specific criteria must be met.

If you are the leaseholder of a flat then, for example, at least half of the owners in your block must want to purchase and share the freehold with you. And it is usual in the case of a block of flats to set up a company to take on the freehold. If you are looking to buy the freehold of a house then, among other things, you must have owned the leasehold for at least two years.

As you might expect, the process of applying for and buying the freehold (known as enfranchisement) is not entirely straightforward. The input of surveyors, to assess the property’s freehold value, and lawyers to handle the eligibility, application and conveyancing aspects, is usually vital to ensuring that the right terms are reached, and that the paperwork and legal protections are watertight.  

So if you are considering purchasing the freehold to your property, get the right legal advice and contact our Conveyancing team today to discuss your particular situation.  Tel: 01264 353411, email: mailto:conveyancing@bsandi.co.ukconveyancing@bsandi.co.uk or fill in our no-obligation enquiry form online and we will be happy to assist you.

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