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Collective enfranchisement – how to get started

Are you and your fellow leaseholders keen to purchase your building’s freehold?  If so, read on – the enfranchisement experts at Brady Solicitors have created a step-by-step guide on how to prepare for your collective enfranchisement project.

Step 1: Your freeholder’s contact details and information

This is an essential part to getting your collective enfranchisement claim underway.  You’ll need your freeholder’s contact details and, ideally, details of any existing disputes or service charge issues.  If you’re not sure who the freeholder is, you can find their name and contact details on your most recent ground rent demand.

Step 2: Information about your flat or apartment

Next, you will need to gather some information about your own property such as finding a copy of the lease and any other associated deeds.

You will also need to check what type of lease you have. To qualify for collective enfranchisement, you must have a long lease, with at least 21 years to run when first granted. (This is not usually a problem as most residential leases are granted with a minimum of 99 years.)

It is also a good idea to collect your current costs information together such as the ground rent and service charge, and details of what this covers.

Step 3: Information about your development and the other flats

Once you’ve got all the details for your own property, you will need to find out how many flats/apartments are in your building in total. This will include checking if your building has any commercial spaces (often shops can be on the ground floor of an apartment building) and if your building has any exterior outbuildings and garages.

Your building must meet several criteria in order to qualify for collective enfranchisement, including:

  •  There must be at least two flats, or at least four if there is a resident freeholder;
  • At least 75% of the building must be residential;
  • The building cannot be owned by the Crown or the National Trust.

Step 4: Secure leaseholder support

Once it is confirmed that everything complies to the enfranchisement criteria, the next step is to contact your fellow leaseholders to secure their support for the application.  You can do this in a number of ways, with notes on the noticeboards, letters to individual leaseholders or arranging a meeting.  Your managing agent may also be able to help you contact people by email.

You need support from at least 50% of the leaseholders in order to proceed with the collective enfranchisement.

It will be useful to find out if any of the leaseholders own more than three flats/apartments within the building, as they will not be eligible.

It is usually beneficial to appoint (diplomatically of course!) someone as the ‘leader’ for the application. This will make the entire process run more smoothly by allowing one person to represent the leaseholders and liaise with expert advisers such as solicitors and surveyors.

Step 5: Appoint a Surveyor

You need a surveyor to provide an initial appraisal of the building, sometimes referred to as an enfranchisement valuation report.  The surveyor will also later provide a premium (price) for the freehold to put into the application, with best case and worst case scenarios.

If you are unsure of which surveyor to use, Brady Solicitors can provide you with a recommendation. If you decide instead to source your own surveyor, you will need to make sure that the surveyor is compliant with RICS regulations.

Once you reach this stage, you will be well on your way to starting your collective enfranchisement and purchasing the freehold of your building.

Ready to get started?

Once you’ve gathered all the information and have the surveyor’s valuation report, it’s time to instruct a solicitor to help you through the process.

Our approach at Brady Solicitors is to provide you, and all the other participating leaseholders, with the peace of mind that you are in safe hands with us. We understand the leaseholder – freeholder dynamic and bring expert solutions to every step of the process.

We will ensure that you feel confident throughout the collective enfranchisement process and can provide you with extra explanation of anything you feel unsure about. Additionally, we will be happy to advise you on how to check (or where to find) the information about your home and building.

Get in touch with our experts

With hundreds of years’ worth of combined experience, our experts have dealt with nearly every leasehold property matter you can imagine. If you’re currently in need of legal support or advice, please get in touch.

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