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Enfranchisement of Houses

If you are the owner of a long lease on a house, you may be entitled to enfranchise (compulsory purchase) the freehold interest from the current freeholder under the terms of the Leasehold Reform Act 1967.

Specific requirements however are necessary to qualify:-

  • Does the building qualify?
  • Does the lease qualify?
  • Does the tenant qualify?

In order for the building to qualify, it must be a “house”.  The definition is contained in Section 2(1) of the Leasehold Reform Act 1967:

 “For purposes of this Part of the Act, ‘house’ includes any building designed or adapted for living in reasonably so called, not withstanding that the building is not structurally detached, or was not or is not solely designed or adapted for living in, or is divided horizontally into flats or maisonettes; …”

Also, one essential rule is that there must be no material over or under-hang with an adjoining building (if there is, then it is likely to be a flat).

The house must be held under a long lease ie. one with an original term of more than 21 years.  However, if it is a business tenancy, then it will not qualify if it is for an original term of 35 years or less.

The tenant must have owned the lease for at least two years.  Since the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002, there is now no residency qualification, only one of ownership, save in some limited circumstances.


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