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 in reality 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.
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 of Leasehold Enfranchisement Solicitors), the only nationwide organisation representing specialist enfranchisement surveyors and lawyers.
Leasehold enfranchisement – what are the pros and cons?
Many leaseholders feel that they would like more control over the management of their property. And if that sounds like you, you have 2 main options. Either you can buy the freehold or you can apply for the ‘right to manage’ the block. But be aware that both options mean that you need to make a joint application with other leaseholders – and that can prove tricky if you come from a large block, because these applications require the support of at least 50% of leaseholders (and both of you if your building has just 2 flats) .
So what are the advantages and disadvantages of going down the collective enfranchisement route?
- Freehold purchase – the advantages
• Increase the value of your home: prospective buyers are likely to be more attracted to flats where they will own the freehold.
• Extend your lease for free: if you choose to buy the freehold you will not need to pay a fee to extend your lease and can extend it up to 999 years (with the agreement of your fellow freeholders).
• You don’t pay ground rent: if you own the freehold, you will not need to pay any ground rent.
• You choose service providers: this means you can control the amount you pay in service charges whereas before you paid the service charges determined by the freeholder.
• Avoid conditions: As a leaseholder you are bound by various conditions over repairs and pet ownership for example which can be frustrating having forked out on a home. This is not usually the case as a freeholder, provided the other freeholders either agreed to amend the terms of your lease or not to enforce any restriction.
- Freehold purchase – the disadvantages
So far so good, however some elements of freehold purchase are less attractive, for example:
• It’s not cheap: enfranchisement can, depending on the value of your flat, prove quite expensive – but this is almost always exceeded by the value that it can add to your home.
• You are going toneed your neighbours’ help: It can be difficult – especially for those living in large blocks – to draw together a team of people who are willing to engage in collective enfranchisement and who will be organised and co-operative throughout the process. You may even struggle to find the freeholder (though don’t worry if they’re missing – our team can help you through the process to buy a freehold even with an absent freeholder).
• It can be a slow process: leasehold enfranchisement usually takes about 12 months but if your freeholder is uncooperative it can take considerably longer, especially if you don’t instruct specialist solicitors.
• The lease conditions may remain: the conditions of your lease will not change simply because you have bought the freehold, although it is quite common for freeholders to agree lease variations for other freeholders. It is therefore important to instruct an expert solicitor to update unfair or badly drawn-up leases.
• You have responsibilities: as a freeholder you become responsible for setting up and running your new freehold company, keeping the accounts, maintaining the property and securing insurance. This is not for the faint-hearted. it can be a particular strain if the block is a big one or if you have some difficult issues or awkward leaseholders. Failure to properly run the freehold company and maintain their block can have expensive consequences.
• Disagreements may still occur: some neighbours are still likely to complain about service charges once the freehold company has been set up. These disputes may arise between you and other freeholders as well as those who were not party to the collective enfranchisement. And this can be particular difficult if you’re living in the block and the arguments are with your near neighbours or friends.
Flat in Brighton? Looking to Purchase the Freehold of Your Block? Call us today
Exercising your right freehold purchase can prove really complicated – 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