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Leasehold Houses

Leasehold houses are comparatively rare, because most leaseholders have had the right to buy their freeholds on favourable terms since the Leasehold Reform Act 1967.

The 99-year leases of many Victorian houses were coming to an end when the Act was passed. It allowed the leaseholder to buy the freehold by 'enfranchisement' at a price based on the value of the site, not the house itself. The risk of enfranchisement makes it pointless for a builder to sell a new house leasehold instead of freehold, so few new leases of houses are created nowadays, and many people who owned leasehold houses before 1967 have since bought their freeholds.

If you buy a leasehold house, you can be pretty sure it will be worth more with the freehold. The increase in value from enfranchisement should be more than the price you have to pay for the freehold. You can claim the freehold once you have owned the house for two years, and it makes sense to buy it as soon as you can afford to, unless the lease still has many years to run.

Call us on 020 8771 5254 for a free initial assessment of your legal matter over the phone.

How much will it cost to purchase the freehold?

You may be able to agree the price of the freehold with your landlord. Even if you do, it may still be worth getting a professional valuation from a surveyor to make sure you are not paying over the odds. If you can't agree, a surveyor's valuation can be ammunition for negotiations, or a surveyor can negotiate for you.

Valuation under the 1967 Act is not a simple process, because there are different ways to work out the price, depending on the level of the leasehold ground rent, the rateable value of the house at various dates, and the length of time the lease has left to run. We can introduce you to surveyors we regularly work with and have found reliable. Once agreement has been reached, the purchase of the freehold is a conveyancing job, and we shall be happy to deal with that for you.

What if the landlord does not agree?

As a rule, though there are exceptions, you have a right to the freehold whether the landlord agrees or not, once you have owned your leasehold house for two years. We can handle the whole process for you, even if your landlord has disappeared and cannot be given notice - we can help. Call us on 020 8771 5254 for a free initial assessment of your legal matter over the phone.

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