Powers of the Residential Property Tribunal

The title of “First-tier Tribunal – Property Chamber (Residential Property)” is cumbersome. It’s not surprising that as this name changed recently from Leasehold Valuation Tribunal or LVT most people still use the old name.

The Tribunal has five offices around England to offer an independent service to help with settling all sorts of disputes involving leasehold or rented property. There are different systems in Wales and Scotland who have their own official bodies for hearing these sorts of disputes.

In England, the Tribunal has the powers to resolve some sorts of property disputes which would otherwise end up in the courts. It aims to provide an easy and cheap way to access justice. There are fees payable for some types of disputes heard by the Tribunal, but there are no fees for hearing cases about process paid to extend a lease or to buy a building’s freehold.

The Tribunal does not get involved with any sorts of disputes regarding commercial properties.

What people make up Tribunals?

Each Tribunal has a regional judge. This judge is helped by one of more Deputy judges and valuers, who take responsibility for members of the Tribunal and decide which members are best suited to hear a particular case. The members of the Tribunal are given their position by the Lord Chancellor.

The Chairman of the Tribunal is a judge or surveyor, who takes overall responsibility for the case and writes the report giving the decision. Other members of the Tribunal might be surveyors, lay people or other property professionals. Occasionally a Chairman might sit alone, but most often there are three people on a Tribunal.

Powers of the Tribunal

The Tribunal decides on various aspects of disputes about the valuation and terms when acquiring residential leasehold property.

The Tribunal can also determine:

•    What price should be paid to the landlord to extend a lease or when a single leaseholder wants to go ahead with leasehold enfranchisement (enfranchisement is also known as collective or freehold enfranchisement and involves the purchase of the freehold of a block of flats by a group of leaseholders)their block) and can’t come to an agreement with the landlord.

•    The level of costs payable to the landlord when he or she is dealing with an application for extending a lease or enfranchisement.

•    How much should be paid and what terms should be in the agreement when one leaseholder wants to extend their lease and cannot agree the price with their landlord.

•    The costs for collective enfranchisement when this cannot be agreed with the landlord. (Collective enfranchisement is also known as freehold enfranchisement and involves the purchase of the freehold of a block of flats by a group of leaseholders).

•    Issues about who should pay a service charge, who should it be paid to, when it should be paid and how much that service of administration charge should be.

•    When the freeholder or landlord is absent and cannot be traced, the Tribunal can in his absence agree the price to be paid for the leasehold extension or freehold purchase.

•    Whether long leases on flats can be varied

•    Whether a RTM company (right to manage) should be granted the right to manage on a given date

•    Whether the requirement on the landlord to consult leaseholders before charging for major works through the service charge should be modified or dispensed with

•    When the landlord cannot be traced, whether the RTM company can acquire the right to manage

•    The amount of uncommitted service charges due by a third party, landlord or managing agent to a RTM company

•    The costs payable to the landlord (or other party except the tenant and landlord) or a manager who is appointed in a right to manage

•    Whether the covenants or conditions in a residential property lease have been breached

The Tribunal process

Preparation is key when it comes to a FTT hearing and gathering evidence is a key element. It is what the case will largely be decided upon and both sides will be able to put forward their arguments based on such. The Tribunal will question the parties involved and probe into both arguments. After hearing all the evidence at hand the FTT will take their time to come to a resolution. Due to the length of the process those involved may not hear the outcome of their tribunal for anytime up to one year.

Looking for Solicitors to Represent You at a Residential Property Tribunal. Call our Specialists

Our team of enfranchisement and lease extension specialists work closely with our property dispute litigators – so if you’re having a problem with buying your freehold or extending your lease, and think that it might require a Tribunal application, don’t hesitate to get in touch. And don’t forget we offer FREE initial phone advice.

  • Call us today on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 or
  • email us using our contact form for FREE initial advice and a FREE quote.

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We’ve Acquired The Right to Manage – What Happens Next?

Once the leaseholders of a block of flats has been granted the Right to Manage (RTM), what follows is a lot of hard work.

Most Right to Manage applications made because there have been worries about the poor or overpriced management of the block. This can mean that the owners of the flats in the block can be unwelcoming or even hostile to new managing agents. The owners of the flats therefore need to think about whether to use a managing agent, or manage the block themselves.

With larger blocks, it is usually better to look for a professional and experienced managing agent.

Good management of your block – the need for information

It is also vital that the new managing agent is given all of the information about the management of the building. This includes the contracts and copies of any lease in existence before the right to manage was granted, financial records and accounts books.

All records and books will have to be inspected carefully – in particular the company which has recently been granted the right to manage may well be looking to renew some of the contracts or leases.

The need for good communication

Another important factor is a good level of contact between the leaseholders and the new managing agent. Flat owners should make their expectations clear from the outset in order to create a professional relationship which should keep everyone happy. Putting together a list of jobs which need to be done and prioritising this list should make it clear what needs to be done in the building.

A regular point of contact should be established through the holding of regular monthly meetings, at least for the first six months after the right to manage is granted. The directors of the Right to Manage company should also meet regularly with the owners of the flats to make sure that they are happy with the way things are going, and so that the directors can communicate better with the managing agent. It is also good practice for the managing agent to introduce themselves to the flat owners by writing a newsletter outlining the situation and detailing what plans they have for the building.

Your RTM company – prioritise the outstanding jobs

There are usually many repairs and other job which have to be addressed immediately after Right to Manage is obtained. It is really important that these issues are dealt with as soon as possible. Flat owners in the block will be pleased to see problems being dealt with too. Even with medium-sized blocks, if there has been a lengthy period of poor management and maintenance, it might well be worth employing a Property Manager for the initial period so there is someone to supervise any repairs and maintenance jobs.

Getting the right block insurance

When looking for buildings insurance, working with the flat owners can be very cost effective. Any money which is saved from a cheaper insurance premium, can then be reinvested into improving the building, for example for window cleaning or other maintenance issues. Working closely with the owners of the flats should mean that the management of the building is more effective, and will improve relationships between the flat owners and the managing agent.

When it is done properly, getting the right to manage can be hugely effective. Finally, make sure to inform owners of the flats as early as possible about any proposed changes to the management of the building.

Looking for Solicitors to help you exercise your Right to Manage. Call our Specialists

Our team of right to manage, lease extension and enfranchisement specialists are here to help you.

So if you’re thinking of taking over the right to manage your block, and you are looking for the right legal advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

And don’t forget we offer FREE initial phone advice.

  • Call us today on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 or
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Enfranchisement – What happens if you want to sell your flat before the process is complete?

Collective enfranchisement can be a long and drawn-out process, particularly if problems are encountered along the way. In life, different circumstances can crop up and mean that sometimes things have to take an about-turn. There may well be a situation in which you are wholeheartedly going along with an enfranchisement effort and a life event gets in the way which means that you have to sell your flat before the process is complete. These can cause some problems, but not ones which are unsurmountable.

First stop – the participation agreement

A well-run freehold purchase project  will begin with a Participation Agreement, which obliges each participant to pay for their share of the freehold once the process is complete – and furthermore, that if they wish to sell their flat before the process is complete, that  must be to a buyer who agrees to take his or her place in the process of collective enfranchisement. Leasehold enfranchisement in itself doesn’t stop somebody from selling their flat, so long as there is a contingency plan in place, such as the one described above, in case the situation should arise.

This need not cause a problem, though. Indeed, the vast majority of prospective buyers will consider the flat to be far more attractive than another leasehold flat purely because they will get a share of the freehold and a 999-year lease at the end of the project, which they otherwise might not have had they bought another leasehold flat. So long as the Participation Agreement binds the residents to only sell to a buyer who contractually agrees to take their place in the collective enfranchisement process, it should cause no major headaches for those involved.

The importance of the project manager

The project manager or organiser should ensure that they are put in direct contact with the buyer in order to ensure that they are privy to the same information and communication that the original resident was, and this should be done long before the sale of the flat is complete. Once the sale of the flat has gone through, there’s very little the project manager or organiser can do if the new resident claims to know nothing about or not be interested in collective enfranchisement. Having them sign the Participation Agreement or a contract engaging themselves in the process should they be the new owners of the flat will protect the whole process and ensure there are no hiccups along the way.

The need for specialist solicitor

To ensure the project isn’t derailed by the sale of a flat during the process, legal advice should be obtained and the services of a specialist solicitor with plenty of experience of enfranchisement should be sought. This will provide peace of mind to the other residents who are participating in the collective enfranchisement as well as ensuring that the terms of the Participation Agreement are kept to, with the new buyer actively engaging in the purchase of the freehold as the previous resident did. Having this added legal protection is something which can prove hugely valuable, particularly if the new resident opts not to play ball after all.

Keep talking

Once again, communication is the key and conveying accurate information to all residents — as well as potential new residents — is of the utmost importance. An experienced enfranchisement solicitor will be able to deal with the paperwork as well as ensuring that the correct legal advice is given to all the parties involved, making the chances of something going wrong much lower and protecting everybody involved with the collective enfranchisement effort. As always, careful planning and organisation can forestall many problems before they even crop up and ensure that the project is completed smoothly and without any unexpected and unforeseen issues which might arise.

Problems with selling your flat while enfranchisement takes place? We can help

Our team of enfranchisement and lease extension specialists work closely with our property dispute litigators – so if you’re having a problem with buying your freehold or extending your lease, and think that it might require a Tribunal application, don’t hesitate to get in touch. And don’t forget we offer FREE initial phone advice.

Collective enfranchisement involves a really difficult of law  – so it’s so important that you get the right specialist advice. Wherever your block is situated in England and Wales, our expert team of lawyers can help. Enfranchisement and lease extensions is all they do.

For a FREE initial phone consultation from a genuine specialist in Enfranchisement

  • Call us today on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 or
  • email us using our contact form for FREE initial advice and a FREE quote.

Comments or questions are welcome.

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12 Things You Should Know About Right to Manage

Exercising your right to manage can give real benefits – not just the satisfaction of knowing you and some or all of the owners of leasehold flats in your block are in control of managing your block, but it can often, especially when your freeholder has appointed a poorly performing or expensive managing agent, bring significant cash savings.

But you and your fellow leaseholders shouldn’t go ahead with right to manage without being aware of the full picture – here are 12 critical points for you to bear in mind when making a decision on whether or not to exercise your RTM;

1. Landlords and freeholders have very few legal grounds on which they can challenge a Right to Manage application.

2. You don’t have to prove that the managing agent or landlord is doing something wrong to make an application for Right to Manage.

3. Someone who owns a house on a long leasehold basis will not have Right to Manage.

4. Some of the landlord’s existing contracts will be terminated when a Right to Manage is granted.

5. Leaseholders who apply and are granted a Right to Manage have to pay their own legal costs, and the necessary costs of the landlord too.

6. The landlord has to be asked about some of the decisions made by the Right to Manage company, and can also become a member of the company if they wish.

7. Leaseholders who meet the criteria for freehold purchase are, in most circumstances, also liable for Right to Manage.

8. Every apartment owner in the block has to be asked to get involved with the Right to Manage application process. If they will to get involved, then they should be made members of the RTM (Right to Manage) company.

9. Forming a Right to Manage company to manage the property does not give the people who are members of the new RTM company an automatic leasehold extension on their flats. This is because the Right to Manage process does not transfer interest in the property.

10. From the day on which the claim notice is made, it will take, on average, a minimum of four months to obtain the Right to Manage.

11. Right to Manage companies have a written constitution to cover things such as rights on voting, and are limited by guarantee.

12. There is no premium payable by the participants. Unlike a lease extension or collective enfranchisement bid, you do not have to pay any costs incurred by the landlord in loss of interest, or cost of having a valuation done on the property.

Need Right to Manage Solicitors? Contact Our Team Now

When your are taking over the management of your block, you need the right legal advice.

Wherever your block is situated in England Wales, our specialist team can help. For a FREE initial phone consultation from an specialist in RTM company formation

  • Call us today on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 or
  • email us using our contact form for FREE initial advice and a FREE quote.

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Statutory Deadlines for Freehold Enfranchisement

Freehold enfranchisement – the legal process where 50% or more of the leaseholders in a  block of flats get together to buy their block’s freehold from the landlord – often seems like an interminable process with a never-ending list of forms to complete and regulations to adhere to.

It’s certainly true that the rules and paperwork can be daunting, but there is a strict regulatory framework with deadlines governing the whole process. These deadlines are designed to allow leaseholders to get the process completed within a reasonable period of time, while still allowing the freeholder time to manage their side of the process.

Statutory Freehold Enfranchisement – Deadlines Affect Everyone

The legal deadlines apply to both sides in the collective enfranchisement. If the leaseholders miss a deadline when going through the freehold purchase process then the whole process will be declared abandoned by default, or the freeholder can ask the County Court to declare the process invalid. If the freeholder is the one who misses the deadline then it is possible that the collective enfranchisement can be forced through at the original offer price, which gives the landlord no opportunity to negotiate or make a counter offer.

What Happens When the Parties Can’t Agree on a Price

If the freeholder does respond to the initial Enfranchisement Notice and starts to negotiate on price, but then the negotiations over the freehold price reaches stalemate, then the case can then be referred to an official body called the First-Tier Tribunal Property Chamber, which was previously called the LVT or Leasehold Valuation Tribunal. This option is only open during a strict four month period which starts two months from the date the Counter Notice is issued, and ends six months after it is issued. Outside of this period the case cannot be referred to the Tribunal and the whole freehold purchase may fail.

Statutory Enfranchisement – failure to serve a counter notice

After the Enfranchisement Notice is served, the freeholder has a period of two months to come back with a Counter Notice. If this doesn’t happen, then they are deemed to have accepted the initial offer. If this happens, the leaseholders who are asking for collective enfranchisement can go ahead and legally purchase their freehold at whatever price they first offered. It is for this reason that freeholders have to stick to the deadlines and get their responses submitted in time – they face financial losses if they don’t.

The deadlines are there to ensure that the freehold purchase goes through as smoothly as possible, and to provide protection for both side. They also give people time to complete the tasks which need to be completed. All of these deadlines should be made clear by the start and you should make sure to stick to them if you don’t want to run the risk of ending up in the County Court to hear your freehold enfranchisement has been declared abandoned.

The enfranchisement process – need for specialist legal advice

It’s much easier to keep on top of all of these requirements and regulations if you have an experienced collective enfranchisement solicitor by your side keeping you right. There aren’t many solicitors who have an in-depth knowledge of this area of the law so make sure that you do your homework. Your solicitor will make sure that you meet all of the deadlines and that the correct paperwork is served in the right way, at the right time.

Sometimes collective enfranchisement projects can fail because of small mistakes in administration – having good legal advice means that the chance of this happening is greatly decreased and that the chance of a successful freehold purchase is maximized.

Looking at Statutory Enfranchisement ? Call Our Specialists

Exercising your Right to Enfranchise involves a really difficult of law  – so it’s critical that you get the right expert advice. Wherever your block is situated in England Wales, our specialist team can help. For a FREE initial phone consultation from an specialist in Enfranchisement

  • Call us today on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 or
  • email us using our contact form for FREE initial advice and a FREE quote.

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How To Get Your Fellow Leaseholders Involved in Enfranchisement

Freehold purchase of a block of flats (which is often referred to as collective or leasehold enfranchisement) can only be successful when a certain number of leaseholders participate.

The law requires that a minimum of 50% of the owners of the properties in the block have to participate, although there is nothing stopping you from starting the process with a lower percentage than this as long as the 50% mark is eventually reached. It is important that this is pointed out to leaseholders in the early stages of the project as many leaseholders won’t want to get involved with collective enfranchisement until they are sure it will go ahead and this can lead to a “chicken and egg” situation which needs to be sorted out as soon as possible.

Remember too that the freehold purchase process is often far more straightforward when you are dealing with smaller blocks. If you are living in a block of only four flats, you will only need to convince one other leaseholder to join you to reach the 50%. If in contrast you are living in a much larger block with 100 flats, it’s a much more complex job to get an additional 49 leaseholders to join the collective enfranchisement, and keep them involved to the end of the process.

Exercising Your Right to Enfranchise – Issue an Invitation

It is always easier to start the collective enfranchisement process when a good proportion of the leaseholders have already decided that they would like to be involved. What makes up a significant number will depend on the nature of the block of flats.

At the earliest stages of planning, it is a good idea to issue a formal invitation to all of the leaseholders telling them about the proposed freehold purchase and asking them to get involved.

There is no legal requirement to issue this invitation, but it is a good way of starting enfranchisement and enables you to contact all of the leaseholders quickly. It also keeps things on a formal footing, which may alleviate some leaseholder’s worries about the legal and financial aspects of the process.

What Should the Invitation Include?

The initial invitation which you send out should include:

•    Exactly what is being proposed
•    Deadlines for getting involved
•    The benefits of buying the freehold
•    The deposit required
•    Estimated costs for seeing the project through to completion. Clearly state that any costs are purely estimated and that the final charges could vary and will only be fully known when the leasehold purchase has completed.

Giving everyone the same information at the same time also helps to avoid possible conflict as leaseholders can see that everyone is being treated in the same way. There are some situations where this might not be such a good idea though, for example if the freeholder of the building has friends or relatives living in the block. If the freeholder might prove awkward, it may be better to avoid him getting hold of confidential information about the proposed leasehold purchase at this stage.

Your Right to Enfranchise -Getting Leaseholders to Sign Up

Along with the invitation, include a simple sign-up form. Keep this brief, and simply ask the leaseholder to confirm that they are interested in taking part in the leasehold purchase when the project gets underway. It should also be made clear that the leaseholder is not committing to anything by expressing their interest. It just lets the person leading the leasehold purchase that they are interested and willing to take part in collective enfranchisement.

Holding a Residents’ Meeting

At this point it is also a good idea to hold a meeting for leaseholders who still have questions or are unsure about whether to get involved. A meeting allows these leaseholders to ask any questions and get a full picture before committing. A meeting is a good technique to get more leaseholders interested in signing up.

Make sure that you ask an experienced leasehold enfranchisement solicitor to attend this residents’ meeting. The solicitor will be able to give the legal position and make sure that all of the information which is given is accurate. Having a solicitor at the meeting will also give the leaseholders peace of mind as they are being give information by someone who is experienced in this process and really knows what they are doing. Again this can encourage more residents to get involved in the freehold purchase.

The Difference Between Lease Owners and Residents

It’s also important to point out that issuing an invitation to all of the residents in the block might not help identify the leaseholders. Many flats are owned by landlords who rent them out, and it’s the person who owns the property and not the tenant who has to take part in a freehold purchase.

How To Enfranchise – Summary

In the early stages of planning a collective enfranchisement process, it’s essential to stay focused on the end benefits of freehold purchase, and have the costs of each of the separate stages laid out clearly so that your fellow leaseholders can see that you have nothing to hide in the whole process. Once the benefits of owning the freehold have been clearly spelled out and everyone understand what is required for the process, the chances of managing a successful leasehold enfranchisement are much higher.

Want To Know How to Enfranchise Your Block? Call Us Now

Exercising your Right to Enfranchise involves a really difficult of law  – so it’s critical that you get the right expert advice. Wherever your block is situated in England Wales, our specialist team can help. For a FREE initial phone consultation from an specialist in Enfranchisement

  • Call us today on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 or
  • email us using our contact form for FREE initial advice and a FREE quote.

Comments or questions are welcome.

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Choosing the Best Solicitor for Right to Manage

It is very important to get the right legal advice when you are thinking about forming a right to manage company in the UK. It’s important to get the process correct – so look for a specialist solicitor.

Named Contact

Establishing a right to manage (or RTM) company  will mean bringing, depending on the size of your block, a potentially large number of leaseholders together, so it is usually a good idea to nominate one point of contact to deal with the solicitor. This keeps the lines of communication clear and simple, and helps to avoid any confusion. Having one named contact is good standard business practice and is a good way of moving forward in the future.

Find the Right Specialist Solicitor

Once you have decided who is going to be your contact or contacts, then the next job is to get to work researching solicitors. It is always a good idea to look for expert solicitors who have extensive knowledge of right to manage companies. Like leasehold enfanchisement and lease extension, most solicitors in England and Wales rarely deal with right to manage companies, if at all, and won’t have the specialist knowledge required. Don’t automatically assume that using a local solicitor is better; look further afield online to find a real expert in this area of the law. And it’s important to make sure that your solicitor is based in England or Wales – Scotland and Northern Ireland have an entirely different legal system.

Know What You’re Looking For

When you are looking for a solicitor to represent you, it’s also important to be clear about what you are expecting them to do for you. If you already have a working knowledge of forming a RTM company, you might just want a solicitor to do the legal details. Often however, you might be looking for additional support or guidance, and it is important to be clear about this from the outset.

Good Working Relationship

Ensure that you’re comfortable with the solicitors you choose. You are going to have to work closely with them during the formation of the right to manage company, and possibly beyond that point too as you get to grips with your legal obligations. So it’s important that you choose a solicitor who you get on well with and can work with. If for example you prefer to communicate by phone or email rather than in person establish that your solicitor is happy with this; surprisingly there are lots of solicitors out there who are pretty techo-phobic.

Personal Recommendations

It is always better to ask for recommendations to help find a solicitor, or at the very least ask a solicitor to show you testimonials from previous clients. This should help you be sure that you are dealing with someone who is going to give you great service.

Exercising Your RTM? Contact Our Right to Manage Solicitors

Exercising your Right to Manage, like collective enfranchisement and lease extension, involves a really difficult of law  – so it’s critical that you get the right expert advice. Wherever your block is situated in England Wales, our specialist team can help. For a FREE initial phone consultation from an RTM specialist;

  • Call us today on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 or
  • email us using our contact form for FREE initial advice and a FREE quote.

Comments or questions are welcome.

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How to Avoid Disputes Over Service Charges During Collective Enfranchisement

If you are involved in organising the collective enfranchisement process for your block of flats, the chance to buy your freehold can be both exciting and draining. The sheer volume of work needed to push the process to conclusion can seem daunting. There are however some issues which can hold up the process, but which can often be easily avoided.

Collective Enfranchisement and the Problem with Service Charge Disputes

Often one of the most contentious issues that cropped up during the collective enfranchisement process can be around ongoing problems with service charges.

Residents’ Associations can easily have tunnel vision when it comes to purchasing the freehold, and residents become unhappy over what they see as excessive service charges.

It is very important that these arguments are laid to rest as soon as possible to allow the lease enfranchisement process to carry on as smoothly as possible. Getting mired in countless fights with the freeholder over the service charges will just prolong the whole process – and could easily lead the Residents’ Association into endless battles.

Freehold Purchase – Focus on What You Want to Achieve

Any solicitor who has plenty of experience in collective enfranchisement [ and it’s worth noting that there are very few of them in England and Wales] should be able to make clear that Residents’ Associations who expend time and effort pursuing cases over service charges with claims and counter claims will very rarely have success in completing a collective enfranchisement case.

In most cases this sort of challenge is a waste of everyone’s energy; energy which could be far better spent on pushing through the collective enfranchisement process itself.

Trying to keep everyone’s eyes on the final goal can be difficult when working with large groups of leaseholders or Residents’ Associations as these groups can easily lose focus. This makes the process far less efficient than it could be.

The Importance of Careful Accounting

Even if you are not aware of any arguments about service charges at the start of the collective enfranchisement project, chances are you may soon come across some.

During the freehold purchase process, the leaseholders have to pay to the freeholder any outstanding service charges as they are buying all of the legal rights to the building, including all assets or liabilities.

It is very important that someone manages the cash flow carefully to make sure that everyone is aware that this money is due to be paid, and that there is money available to pay off the service charges when the freehold is transferred over to the new company owned by the participating leaseholders.

Collective Enfranchisement – Get a Written Agreement Right from the Start

It is also a good idea to get agreement in writing at the outset of the process that the Residents’ Association will not get involved in any disputes over service charges during the collective enfranchisement process, and that each leaseholder involved will take responsibility for their own service charges. The document should also state that the sole focus of the Residents’ Association should be the collective enfranchisement, and that time should not be wasted on other issues. Often, some leaseholders will not be happy to agree to this as they have problems with what they think are unfair charges, but if everything is set down in black and white at the start of the process, it could keep things running far more smoothly than without any written agreement.

Buying your freehold – the Importance of Ongoing Communication

When dealing with any large group of people and with a complex legal process such as collective enfranchisement, communicating the correct advice can be difficult.

Making sure that you appoint the right solicitor who specialises in collective enfranchisement work can really save you a lot of stress and money over the long term.

The right solicitor will help a Residents’ Association make sure that you have all of the correct information at your fingertips, and can also offer advice on how other Residents’ Associations have dealt with the process in the past.

Your Collective Enfranchisement – Worried About Service Charge Disputes? Call Our Specialists

Exercising your Right to Enfranchise involves a really difficult of law, and the whole process becomes much more difficult if one or more of the residents challenges any outstanding service charges  – so it’s critical that you get the right expert advice.

Wherever your block is situated in England or Wales, our specialist team can help.

For a FREE initial phone consultation from an specialist in Enfranchisement

  • Call us today on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 or
  • email us using our contact form for FREE initial advice and a FREE quote.

Comments or questions are welcome.

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Birmingham Leasehold Enfranchisement

Birmingham has a population of over 1.1 million people [according to 2014 figures from Birmingham City Council itself]. So, as Britain’s second city, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that there are a huge number of flats in Birmingham, many of which are owned under a long leasehold [i.e. a lease originally granted for at least 21 years] rather than rented from say the local authority or a housing association. In fact according to the 2011 Census, Birmingham had 86,595 purpose built flats – and that’s before you mentioned the tens of thousands of houses that have been converted into flats.

But owning a leasehold flat isn’t like owning a freehold house – you don’t have complete control over your block, you have to pay service charges and ground rent to your freeholder – and year by year your lease gets gradually shorter – so when it expires, you end up owning precisely nothing.

The answer? Freehold purchase

One way of avoiding these problems with a leasehold property is to join together with some of the other flat owners to buy the freehold of your block – through a process known as leasehold enfranchisement (often referred to as ‘freehold purchase’ or ‘collective enfranchisement’).

If you live in Birmingham and are thinking of buying your freehold, you’re going to need a specialist solicitor – the specialist enfranchisement team here at Bonallack & Bishop can help.


You may wonder why any solicitor couldn’t handle your lease enfranchisement – how difficult can it be?

Lease enfranchisement is, in fact, a very complicated area of law with tight rules, strict deadlines and a number of traps for the unwary. It is an area of law that very few property solicitors will ever have dealt with – and therefore are unlikely to have sufficient understanding of the issues surrounding enfranchisement .

Given that your freeholder is highly likely to instruct a specialist lease enfranchisement solicitor of their own, you do not want to start on an uneven footing – especially when large financial sums are at stake.


Finding an expert lease enfranchisement solicitor is difficult – the vast majority of property solicitors deal with regular conveyancing of flats and houses, with landlord and tenant issues or deal with commercial property.

In contrast;

• We have a team of four lawyers who specialise in nothing but lease extension, right to manage company formation and lease enfranchisement.

• We are members of the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP) – the only group of specialist enfranchisement surveyors and solicitors nationwide.

 • We are also listed as specialists on the government funded Leasehold Advisory Service website.

 • Our team liaise with specialist enfranchisement and lease extension surveyors every single day – so, if you wish, as part of our one-stop shop service, we cannot only introduce you to a specialist local surveyor, we can also instruct them on your behalf.

 • We will handle your enfranchisement from beginning to end – from obtaining the initial valuation, and serving the Enfranchisement Notice, to helping you with formation of your freehold purchase company and registering you as a new owners with HM Land Registry – and even taking your case to the First Tier Property Tribunal in the unlikely event it becomes necessary

 • Our dedicated team have helped thousands of clients with successful freehold purchase and lease extension cases over the last 25 years


Due to the specialist nature of our service, we represent leaseholders and freeholders alike throughout England and Wales – with the vast majority of our enfranchisement cases being run by phone, email or even over Skype video.

For FREE no strings attached initial advice and a FREE enfranchisement quote

• Call our team free on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 or

• Fill in the email enquiry form below

Comments or questions are welcome.

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Brighton Leasehold Enfranchisement Solicitors

Do you own a leasehold apartment or flat in Brighton? If you do, there is every chance that you could be entitled to buy the freehold of the block using a legal process called “collective” or “leasehold enfranchisement”.

You will need the advice of specialist lease enfranchisement solicitors to guide you through the system, and here at solicitors, Bonallack and Bishop, we have a dedicated team of lease extension and freehold purchase specialists who can offer all the advice and expertise you could need.

Getting a Specialist Leasehold Enfranchisement Lawyer

When going through the process of a lease extension or collective enfranchisement, it is crucial that the surveyors and lawyers you deal with are specialists. Why? Well, leasehold enfranchisement is a complex legal area and it involves unusual legal terminology and strict deadlines. The overwhelming majority of property solicitors have very little experience in this area, if any at all. It is therefore important to find the true specialists, and also the reason why there are so few of them.

Don’t put yourself at a disadvantage without specialist advice – your freeholder will almost certainly have the backup of legal experts.

Working Together for a Smooth Enfranchisement Process

Your solicitor will also have to work with your chosen valuer [and the project manager if your block is a medium or large sized block] to make sure the enfranchisement goes through without a hitch.

Our legal team works with surveyors who specialise in lease extension and enfranchisement every day of the week – what’s more, if you don’t know which surveyor to appoint in Brighton, just ask us – we know exactly which Brighton-based specialist surveyor to use and, if you wish, we can appoint them and instruct them as part of a one-stop service on your behalf to value the enfranchisement premium you are going to have to pay your freeholder.

Recognised Leasehold Enfranchisement Experts

It’s not always that easy to find solicitors who have expertise in leasehold enfranchisement.

Here, however, we have a team of four leasehold extension and collective enfranchisement lawyers who do nothing but help leaseholders extend their lease or purchase the freehold of their block.

We are also members of ALEP (The Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Solicitors) which is a body formed only from surveyors and specialist lawyers, and listed as specialists on the government supported Leasehold Advisory Service website.

Flat in Brighton? Looking to Purchase the Freehold of Your Block? Call us today

Exercising your right freehold purchase can be accommodated business – that’s why it’s so important to have an experienced and expert enfranchisement lawyer on your side.

Our team represent have all the expertise you need – representing clients throughout England and Wales. Lease extension and collective enfranchisement is all they do.

So if you are the owner of a flat in Brighton and you want to purchase the freehold [ or simply extend thr term of your lease];

  • Call us now on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 for FREE initial phone advice and a FREE quote OR
  • Email us using the contact form below

    Comments or questions are welcome.

    * indicates required field