Leasehold Enfranchisements

Leasehold properties are a diminishing asset, which is why purchasing the freehold title of your house, terrace, maisonette or flat may be financially beneficial to you. It is more common for flats to be sold as leaseholds, but some new build houses can be sold as leaseholds too. Without owning the freehold title, it will cost each time you wish to extend the lease and you will have ongoing expenses to your freeholder for insurance, service charges and ground rent. In addition, some contract clauses may be unappealing to buyers, which could make your property unsellable.

If you own a leasehold house, we recommend you buy the freehold for your property as soon as you are eligible (generally this means having a lease longer than 21 years and owning the leasehold for at least two years). If you own a leasehold flat, there are a few more criteria you’ll need to consider, including:

  • Your eligibility
  • Whether your neighbours agree to buying the freehold (known as a collective enfranchisement)
  • The cost of the freehold (keeping in mind the shorter the lease, the more it will cost)
  • Additional costs (including the cost of a valuation surveyor, legal fees, stamp duty land tax, re-mortgaging)
  • Ongoing administration and fellow residents’ engagement (either one resident will need to be the nominee purchaser or a company will need to be set up to deal with ongoing maintenance and improvement issues, which comes with its own costs)
  • Whether the landlord will agree

Owning the freehold title of your property has a number of benefits, including being able to extend your lease length up to 999 years for free, the ability to waive ground rent charges, it adds value to your property and will be more lucrative when it comes to selling, and it offers greater control over the management of your property in terms of maintenance and running of the common areas. It makes financial sense to buy the freehold as soon as you are able to, unless there are still a high number of years left on the lease.

When choosing whether or not to purchase the freehold title of your property, it will require a detailed consideration of a number of varying factors. It is important to seek specialist legal advice from property solicitors who have experience with leasehold enfranchisement. Call QualitySolicitors today for a Free Initial Assessment and no obligation to proceed on 08082747557.


It may be possible for a leasehold property to become freehold. This process is called enfranchisement.

The enfranchisement process is governed by the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 and the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993. There are certain eligibility criteria and conditions that must be met for leaseholders to exercise their right to enfranchisement.

Enfranchisement is a complex process. Our specialist solicitors can advise you about your options.

The requirements for leasehold enfranchisement vary depending on the circumstances. Generally, the leaseholder must

1. Have a lease of at least 21 years for a house, or 21 years and the right to peppercorn ground rent for a flat.

2. Have owned the property for at least two years.

In the case of a flat, at least 50% of the leaseholders in the block must agree to participate in the enfranchisement process.

When leaseholders come together to purchase the freehold of a building, this is called collective enfranchisement. The process is governed by the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993.

To start the process, at least 50% of qualifying leaseholders in the building must agree to the purchase.

A leasehold enfranchisement property can be sold as long as the correct procedures are followed.

Once a leasehold property becomes a freehold, it can be sold in the same way as any freehold property.

At the end of a 99-year lease, the ownership of the property reverts to the freeholder. The leaseholder will no longer have the right to occupy the property.

Sometimes lease agreements contain terms that allow leaseholders to continue to occupy a property after the lease has expired.

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