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Buying the freehold

The Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 also gives leaseholders the right to buy a share of the freehold of their building if certain conditions are met. You have to get together with other leaseholders to do this (collective enfranchisement). There are rules about who qualifies and which properties are eligible. There must be enough qualifying leaseholders before you can proceed.

A leaseholder can buy the freehold if:

  • they do not own more than two flats in the building;
  • there are two or more flats in the building;
  • at least two thirds of the number of flats in the block must be owned by leaseholders;
  • at least half of the flats in the block must be owned by leaseholders who want to buy the freehold (if there are only two flats in the building both must be owned by leaseholders who want to buy the freehold); and
  • they own 100% of their lease (leaseholders who do not own 100% of their lease do not qualify).

Leaseholders cannot buy the freehold if:

  • more than 25% of the floor area inside the block is used for something other than housing (this could affect, for example, flats which are above a row of shops); or
  • the Council (or freeholder as the case may be) can prove to the court that it intends to demolish the building and at least two thirds of all leases in the building are due to end in the next five years.

If the leaseholders in your building can meet all these conditions, they can buy the freehold from the Council. This is a complicated process, and leaseholders who are considering buying the freehold will need to employ a qualified surveyor, and get independent legal advice.

The formal (statutory) process for leaseholder enfranchisement is started by serving the Initial Notice which contains the proposed price for purchasing the freehold and the main details relating to the purchase.  It must be served by the Nominee Purchaser (usually a company) on behalf of the leaseholders purchasing the freehold. The serving of the Initial Notice commits the applicants to paying the landlord’s reasonable costs as from the date of receipt of the notice.

All correspondence/notices should be sent to the following address:

Haringey Council
Strategic Property
River Park House
6th Floor, 225 High Road
London N22 8HQ

As in the case of lease extensions Haringey Council in common with most landlords is unable to deal with general correspondence or queries over the phone on this subject.  It is only able to respond to a formal notice (the Initial Notice) from a leaseholder where they want to extend their lease or purchase the freehold. The reason the Council is unable to deal with general queries on this subject is that it is very time consuming and therefore very expensive. However a lot of information about this subject is freely available to leaseholders on the internet. Homes for Haringey has produced a guide to buying your freehold which can be downloaded here.

Thus the Leasehold Advisory Service (www.lease-advice.org) is an independent government funded body that provides free legal advice on the law affecting residential leasehold matters.  Its website has a lot of very useful information for leaseholders about collective enfranchisement including a booklet which can be downloaded from it.  Their website also provides lists of solicitors and surveyors qualified to undertake work on such matters.  They should be able to provide an estimate in advance of their fees for the work involved.

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Page Last Updated:

8 August 2018