Statutory Freehold Enfranchisement – the Importance of Deadlines

Solicitors Specialising in Freehold Purchase For Clients NationwideStatutory Freehold Enfranchisement. Solicitors Specialising in Freehold Purchase

Statutory 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.

Need Expert Enfranchisement Advice? Call us on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 for FREE Initial Phone Advice.

Freehold Enfranchisement – the difference between the informal and statutory process.

Just like extending your lease, when you come to buy the freehold of your block with some of your fellow leaseholders, you have two options.

1. An informal or voluntary enfranchisement

2. The formal or statutory enfranchisement process

There are a number of differences between the two. In short,

• provided you get the process right and your block is eligible for enfranchisement, then buying the freehold is your legal right. In general terms the freeholder simply cannot stop you.

• in contrast there is no formality to the voluntary route. no timetable, and no set procedure. You simply negotiate and agree terms with your freeholder. And the main disadvantage is that in using this process, you have absolutely no way of forcing your freeholder to complete the sale. Your freeholder is completely free to drop out at any stage, which is why we would strongly advise against any informal enfranchisement.

• one disadvantage of the formal route is that it does mean you need to strictly comply with the rigid the timetable and complicated procedure. Making a simple mistake can mean your application fails and have to start from the beginning again which can cause considerable delay and significantly increase costs. remember with the formal route you will have to pay not only your own legal and valuation costs but also the reasonable and legal valuation costs of your freeholder.

That’s why it’s so important getting a specialist solicitor with plenty of relevant experience to handle your statutory enfranchisement claim

Enfranchisement – the Need for Specialist Solicitors

As you will see below, implications of missing a deadline when it comes to formal enfranchisement can prove very expensive indeed. That’s right really important that you get a solicitor who really understands freehold purchase. Few property solicitors regularly deal with lease extensions – and far fewer ever come across enfranchisement.

However if you instructed leasehold team here at Bonallack and Bishop you can rest Statutory Freehold Enfranchisement Solicitors. HomeOwners Alliance logo.assured that you have experts with plenty of relevant experience covering your back. We 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.

And to prove it, we are the only solicitors nationwide recommended by the HomeOwners Alliance (the leading organisation representing Britain’s 17 million homeowners) for legal advice on any aspect of lease extension, right to manage or freehold purchase.

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. given that most original offer prices tend to be on the lower side – to encourage negotiation, if the freeholder misses the deadline it can prove very expensive indeed.

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 Freehold 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.

Looking at Statutory Freehold 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.

Own a leasehold flat? Planning alterations? You could need the landlord’s consent

Solicitors Specialising in Licences to Alter

There are many reasons why the owner of a leasehold flat might need to alter the property Leasehold Flat Alterations Landlord's Consentwhich they own, perhaps because they want to improve their home, or because they want to refurbish the building.

The exact requirements will depend on the terms of the lease and the types of changes being proposed – but in most cases the leaseholder will have to get a Licence to Alter from the landlord [usually the freeholder] giving them consent to make the changes.

Got a question about a Licence to Alter? Call our specialist solicitors on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 for FREE initial phone advice.

What Kind of Work Requires Landlord’s Consent?

The types of renovations or changes to the building which might need a licence to alter can include;

•    any alterations to the structure of the building
•    changing internal walls or doors and
•    changing the windows.

More minor changes such as getting new flooring, painting walls or putting up shelves typically do not require the freeholder’s permission. Making alterations to leasehold buildings without the consent of the landlord can often cause disputes – both between leaseholders and the freeholder, and also on occasions between individual leaseholders.

If you are in any doubt at all over whether a licence is needed for the proposed works, some careful checking needs to be done and the freeholder needs to be kept informed.

Failure To Obtain Consent

Not getting the right form of written consent from the freeholder can be classed as a breach of the lease – and could result in really serious financial implications for the leaseholder.

The Importance of Getting Your License to Alter Early on

Getting permission from your landlord to make alterations can take time, especially when this coincides with the lease itself being agreed. This delay can put the leaseholder in the position of having to appoint builders or decorators to carry out work which they might be refused permission to complete.

It is therefore wise to get in touch with the freeholder as soon as possible to establish whether or not a licence is necessary, how likely it is that consent will be given, and how long it is likely to take for a licence to be given.

Making an Application

The information you are going to need to put in an application for a licence to alter will depend on the type of changes to your flat that are being proposed. However they may often include:

•    Description of proposed work
•    Timeline for doing the work
•    Drawings showing current layout and proposed changes
•    Copies of insurance certificates, if appropriate
•    Planning permission, building regulations warrants and other approvals if needed
•    Evidence that the work complies with the Party Wall Act

Legal Implications of Making Alterations To Rented Premises

The Landlord and Tenant Act states that freeholders cannot withhold permission to make alterations without good reason. So, for example, in a situation where changes are needed to comply with legal requirements, your landlord’s consent cannot be refused.

What a Licence to Alter Should Contain

The licence document lays out the changes which have been agreed and any conditions for carrying out the work. The document will include:

•    Details of the work which has been agreed
•    Any conditions such as working hours, noise or disposal of waste
•    Any statutory obligations which have to be complied with
•    Requirements for insurance cover
•    Agreement over costs. The costs which the freeholder pays when looking at the proposal and drawing up the licence may have to be paid by the leaseholder. The leaseholder may also be responsible for extra insurance costs, and other costs such as work to security systems.
•    Drawings and building specifications

It can often be a tricky time when renovation works are being done under a licence to alter, especially when trying to coordinate alteration work with moving into the building and need to bring this into line with:

•    Initial negotiations over the lease
•    Removals and relocation
•    Buying new fixtures, fittings, equipment or office furniture
•    Giving up the lease of the premises which the leaseholder is moving from

Failing to bring all of these things into line can mean large additional costs for the leaseholder, or the need to move into alternative accommodation for a short time. The freeholder is also entitled to inspect the renovation work when it starts, during construction and once work has finished.

Own A Leasehold Flat? Proposing Alterations Needing Your Landlord’s Consent? Our Solicitors Can Help. Call Now

Don’t take chances in making alterations to your flat without checking if you need your freeholder’s permission  –  it’s critical that you get the right expert advice.

Wherever your flat is situated in England or Wales, our specialist team can help. For a FREE initial phone consultation from an specialist in working with licences to alter.

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

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.

Lease Enfranchisement – What Are The Benefits?

• Your flat will increase in value – and will become easier to sell

• You take over management of your block

• Block maintenance will probably become cheaper, as you organise it yourself

• You don’t have to put up with a difficult landlord

• You can extend your lease up to 999 years

• No more ground rent to pay

• Greater security – as a freeholder, normally only failure to meet your mortgage could cause eviction

WHY A SPECIALIST ENFRANCHISEMENT SOLICITOR IS SO IMPORTANT

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.

OUR COLLECTIVE ENFRANCHISEMENT EXPERTS

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 five who specialise in nothing but lease extension, right to manage company formation and lease enfranchisement.

• We are the only solicitors are recommended for freehold purchase by the Homeowners Alliance, the largest organisation representing Britain’s homeowners.Birmingham Leasehold Enfranchisement. Specialist Freehold Purchase Solicitors. Homeowners Alliance logo

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

 • 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

THE IMPORTANCE OF BUYING YOUR FREEHOLD WITH AT LEAST 80 YEARS LEFT ON THE LEASE

Leaseholders seeking the right to buying the freehold of their block should be aware that it is more expensive once a lease has less than 80 years to run (the same applies if you’re thinking of extending your lease). Sometimes much more expensive.

Why? That’s because where the lease has less than 80 years left on it, your freeholder has the right to charge an additional premium – which is known as the “marriage value”. (The marriage value is valued at half the difference between the property value before and after the leaseholders have exercised their freehold right to bu)y.

In practical terms for most flats, this means each individual leaseholder may have to pay thousands more to participate in the freehold purchase. And that figure only increases as the lease term steadily drops.

Marriage value also applies to lease extension – so if you’re considering the alternative of extending your lease – try to do so before that critical 80 year period.

N.B. There is no marriage value if the unexpired portion of the lease has more than 80 years to run

GETTING OTHER LEASEHOLDERS INVOLVED IN BUYING THE FREEHOLD

If your leasehold enfranchisement is going to be successful, you are going to need the support of at least 50% of leaseholders of the block of flats.

And getting half of all the leaseholders to commit, and remain committed, can be a tricky job with medium and larger sized blocks.

However, the good news is that the freehold purchase process can be started with less than 50% of leaseholders, provided the 50% quota is eventually reached. This is an important point to bear in mind. Often leaseholders will be reluctant to get involved with the collective enfranchisement until they are sure it will go through. This “chicken and egg” situation needs tackling at the early stages of freehold purchase.

One of the best ways of getting people committed to the project is by getting them signed up to what is known as “a participation agreement” – a legally binding contract setting out the details of the planned enfranchisement and who will be involved.

Our specialist team can help you draft a participation agreement that suits your particular circumstances.
Click here to read more about participation agreements.

THINKING OF ENFRANCHISEMENT IN BIRMINGHAM? CONTACT US TODAY

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 video call.

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

Brighton Leasehold Enfranchisement Solicitors

Do you own a leasehold apartment or flat in Brighton? Are you fed up with the cost of maintenance or with having to deal with a particular difficult freeholder. If so, 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”.

What’s more, once the collective enfranchisement process is completed, leaseholders have the right to grant themselves 999 year leases for what is known a “peppercorn rent” i.e. nil rent.

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 expert advice and expertise you could need.

Looking To Buy The Freehold Of Your Block In Brighton? Looking For The Right Legal Advice? Call Us On FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 For FREE Initial Phone Advice.

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.
Click here to read more about the leasehold enfranchisement process

Recognised Leasehold Enfranchisement Experts

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

Here, however, we have 5 strong Leasehold Team who do nothing but help leaseholders nationwide extend their lease or purchase the freehold of their block – taking instructions by phone, e-mail or video call. And over the last 25 years, we’ve both represented numerous  freeholders, and leaseholders like you, in many thousands of lease enfranchisement, lease extension and right to manage cases. Currently we are taking about 500 such cases each year.Brighton Leasehold Enfranchisement Solicitors. HomeOwners Alliance logo

But don’t just take our word for it. We are the only solicitors nationwide recommended for enfranchisement and lease extension work by the HomeOwners Alliance – Britain’s leading campaigning group for home owners.

And here’s what one of Brighton’s specialist enfranchisement valuers says about us:

“As one of the leading and longest established firm of chartered surveyors specialising in leasehold reform, we have worked with Bonallack and Bishop on many occasions. The process is complex and a procedural minefield. Bonallack and Bishop certainly know the ropes and we have always found them knowledgeable and efficient and a joy to deal with”.
Andrew Pridell, Andrew Pridell Associates Ltd – specialist Lease Extension Chartered Surveyor and Valuer, Hove

We are also members of ALEP (The Association Brighton Leasehold Enfranchisement Solicitors. ALEP logoof Leasehold Enfranchisement Solicitors) which is a body formed only from surveyors and specialist lawyers.

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 the 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

Bristol Collective Enfranchisement

Do you own a flat or apartment on a long leasehold basis [i.e. any residential lease with a term originally granted for over 21 years]? Do you want to increase the value of your flat? Do you want to take over the right to manage your block from your freeholder? If you can answer “yes” to all three of these questions, then you could well be entitled to buy the freehold of your block of flats using a process called leasehold or collective enfranchisement.

You’ll need a specialist leasehold enfranchisement lawyer to help you with this – and at here at Bonallack and Bishop we have a dedicated team of lease extension and enfranchisement solicitors who have all the knowledge you are going to need.

Helping you throughout the whole process

What’s more, we are are there with expert advice right from the initial valuation. And if you can’t get agreement from your freeholder, all the way to the First Tier Property Tribunal.

In addition, as part of our one stop shop service,we can introduce you to come and if necessary appoint, a member of our specialist panel of collective enfranchisement surveyors – because you are going to need an expert valuation and very few surveyors have the necessary experience or skill.

Looking To Buy The Freehold Of Your Block In Bristol? Looking For Specialist Solicitors? Call Us On FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 For FREE Initial Phone Advice.

Use a Specialist Enfranchisement Lawyer

If you are going through the process of lease extension or enfranchisement, it’s important that you deal with a specialist surveyor and lawyer. Freehold enfranchisement is a complicated area of the law, and it involves specific terminology and strict deadlines.

Most property solicitors don’t touch leasehold enfranchisement very often if at all, which is why it is so important to find true experts and also why these experts are few and far between. Remember also that your freeholder will have already made the call to get their own specialist solicitors. So don’t leave yourself at a disadvantage.

You will also have to ensure that your solicitor will have to work with your project manager and your surveyor to keep the process moving along slowly. Our legal team works with these people every day on lease extension and enfranchisement projects so is in the perfect position to help your enfranchisement too.

Genuine Enfranchisement Experts

It’s not always that easy to find a specialist freehold purchase solicitor. Here we are one of very few law firms nationwide with a team of lawyers who dedicate their entire working week to helping with leasehold extension or collective enfranchisement alone.

You can tell we are genuine specialists – because we are the only law firm nationwide recommended for enfranchisement work by the Homeowners Alliance – the biggest organisation representing the U.K.’s home owners. Bristol Collective Enfranchisement Solicitors. Homeowners Alliance Logo

We are members of the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP) which is a body comprised of specialist surveyors and freehold purchase lawyers.

But don’t just take our word for it. Click here to read about what some of our clients and the Expert Enfranchisement Valuers we work with say about us.

Live in Bristol? Looking to Purchase the Freehold of Your Block? Contact Us Now

Exercising your Right to Enfranchise is a complicated process and it’s really important to make sure you have specialist legal advice.

Our specialist team represent clients throughout England and Wales – so if you own a flat in Bristol and you are looking at enfranchisement;

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

Lease Extension – How Executors Can Make the Most of Their Property Rights

Many executors are unaware of their rights to extend a leasehold on a residential flat or house, and the useful benefits this can bring. If leasehold residential property forms part of the estate in question, then, as long as the executor acts to start the application to extend the lease by serving the formal notice of claim within two years of probate being granted, they have the same rights as the living homeowner may have had. The deceased person has to have qualified for the lease extension themselves, which usually means having owned the property concerned for at least two years.

Looking for Specialist Lease Extension Advice? Call our Solicitors on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 for FREE Initial Phone Advice

Options open to an executor

If these conditions are met, the executor has two options. They can either go straight ahead and extend the lease [possibly by making the most of using some of the cash in the estate to pay the freeholder’s premium, surveyors fees and both sets of legal costs], or start the process with the aim of putting the property on the market.

As long as the executor has started the process of lease extension, this can then be handed onto the person who buys the house or flat. The new purchaser therefore doesn’t have to wait for the two years needed for him to start the lease extension and saves money too.

A property which already has a lease extension underway is worth more than one which does not, and it is more appealing to home buyers too.

Thinking of a Leasehold Extension? Contact our Experts

Here at Bonallack and Bishop, we have a team of specialists in both Leasehold Enfranchisement and Lease Extension – that’s all they do and  they can represent you wherever you live in England and Wales – so for  FREE initial phone advice just

  • call our specialists on 0800 1404544 for FREE initial advice or
  • fill in the enquiry form below

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.

Looking for Specialist Enfranchisement Advice? Call us now on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 for FREE Initial Phone Advice.

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.

Click here to read more about Participation Agreements

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.

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.

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.

Cardiff Building in Largest Ever Right To Manage Victory

Century Wharf in Cardiff, a Peverel managed site of 967 leasehold flats, is the biggest site ever to have won Right to Manage [RTM].

The 967 luxury apartments known as Century Wharf in Cardiff have become the Right To Manage Federation’s biggest victory yet. Century Wharf casts a shadow over the biggest RTM in England, the 422 flats at Metro Central Heights in Elephant and Castle in London which was completed by the Right to Manage Federation in 2012.

Century Wharf comprise 19 buildings which are divided into 35 self-contained units which will be known as houses.

After many visits to the site, the RTMF decided that three RTM companies would take responsibility for managing the estate and those three companies were incorporated in October 2012.

Peverel subsequently challenged the right to manage application on several grounds, including the right of one company to take charge of more than one building. The hearing was adjourned to allow the Upper Tribunal to consider whether one RTM company can indeed manage many buildings. At a later hearing, the Tribunal ruled that all three RTM companies were entitled to manage.

This decision in a complex site is in direct contrast to the situation at Kingsmere in Brighton in 2012. There, poorly-advised leaseholders ended up picking up the bill for the freeholder legal costs. There is now clearer guidance about the mechanism for one RTM company overseeing several buildings.

The Tribunal also recommended that landlords facing a RTM claim accept the proposal rather than drag out a court case, especially in cases where most leaseholders are in favour of RTM.

The leaseholders at Century Wharf have asked Warwick Estates to manage the portfolio of the luxury Cardiff apartments when the RTM is formerly handed over at the beginning of August.

Considering Exercising Your Right to Manage – Call Us Now 

Whether you’re thinking of setting up an RTM company or enfranchising your block –   it’s critical that you get the right expert advice. Wherever your block is situated in England and Wales, our specialist team can help. For a FREE initial phone consultation from an specialist in both RTM and Enfranchisement

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