The Right to Acquire the Freehold

When considering making an application for Enfranchisement, the Leaseholder will have to firstly find out whether they qualify for the right to Enfranchisement and that the property passes the necessary tests.

Having ascertained that the property does qualify for enfranchisement the leaseholder will need to investigate whether the house meets certain value limits according to when the lease was originally granted. This can best be done by a valuer qualified in enfranchisement procedures.

Getting Professional Advice

It is important that the leaseholder obtains legal advice from a solicitor regarding the process of enfranchisement, to confirm their eligibility, their rights and the method of valuation to be used. The following information will need to be provided to the solicitor to enable them to act for the leaseholder in the process:
  • Details of the lease – date, term, date of commencement etc
  • The original ground rent payable at the start of the Lease
  • Any premium paid for the lease
  • Parties to the Lease.
  • What was the rateable value of the house on the first day of the lease or on 23rd March 1965, whichever is the later.
  • What was the rateable value of the house on 31st March 1990.

Instructing a Valuer

The enfranchisement process is a complex matter, it is important to have good professional advice. A valuer can:
  • Provide advice on the qualification requirements for enfranchisement
  • Carry out a valuation
  • Advise on the possible purchase price and give ‘best and worst case’ valuations.
  • Advise on the offer to be made to the Freeholder in the Notice of Claim
  • Advise on the response given by the Freeholder in their Counter- Notice
  • Conduct negotiations with the freeholder on the leaseholder’s behalf
  • Provide expert evidence at the Leasehold Tribunal
When choosing a valuer it is prudent to make sure that they are a qualified surveyor and a fellow or associate of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and are experienced in making valuations for the purpose of leasehold enfranchisement.

Serving a Notice of Claim

Once the leaseholder has served the Notice of Claim, they will be responsible for paying the freeholder’s reasonable costs in addition to their own costs.

The Notice of Claim must be served on the Freeholder. The Notice of Claim must be in prescribed form and must include:
  • A description of the house
  • Particulars to establish that the house and the leaseholder both qualify for enfranchisement
  • The leaseholder’s proposed basis of valuation

The Freeholder then has two months in which to serve a Counter-Notice. It is common for the freeholder to also serve a procedural notice requesting a deposit (usually three months ground rent) and asking the leaseholder to deduce title and to produce evidence by way of a statutory declaration that the leaseholder fulfills the residency requirements of the provisions. The Freeholder’s valuer is then likely to carry out a valuation of the property.

If the landlord disputes the leaseholder’s claim, the tenant will have to make an application to the court. Unlike the collective enfranchisement of a flats, the Freeholder cannot use the ground of redevelopment to avoid the leaseholder’s claim for enfranchisement of a leasehold house.

If the Freeholder accepts the claim, but disputes the terms of the conveyance or the price offered, then either party can apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal for the matter in dispute to be determined. There are no time limits in which to make this application.

The leaseholder can withdraw from the procedure at any time up to one month following the determination of the purchase price. However, the leaseholder will be liable for the freeholder’s reasonable costs as from the date of the service of the Notice of Claim.

At iConvey, we are specialists in conveyancing and Property Law with many years of experience of Leasehold properties. Our professional and knowledgeable conveyancers are always at hand keeping you informed every step of the way. We ensure that you are always aware of the costs at the outset with a transparent fee structure and no hidden fees.

You can obtain an instant quote for your conveyancing from this website. Our quotes are guaranteed, fully transparent and include no hidden extras for a normal conveyancing transaction.

Alternatively, simply call us on 01732 758780 for more information or to discuss your particular needs.

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