To be a qualifying leaseholder under the law requires a long lease, which is generally:
- a lease for a fixed term in excess of 21 years when first issued (granted);
- the continuation of a long lease under the Local Government Housing Act 1989 following the expiry of the original term;
- a shared ownership lease where the leaseholder’s share is 100%.
Where there are other types of leases specialist advice should be taken.
But, even if the leaseholder satisfies the above criteria, he or she will not be a qualifying leaseholder if any of the following cases apply:
- the landlord is a charitable housing trust and the flat is provided as part of the charity’s functions;
- the leaseholder owns more than two flats in the building;
- the leaseholder has a business or commercial lease.
- there must be a minimum of two flats in the building;
- at least two-thirds of the flats must be leasehold;
- no more than 25% of the internal floor area to be in non-residential use.
There is no right to buy the freehold (but there is a right to renew the lease) where:
- the building is a conversion into four or fewer flats and not a purpose-built block and the same person has owned the freehold since before the conversion of the building into flats and he or an adult member of his family has lived there for the past 12 months.
- the freehold includes any track of an operational railway, including a bridge or tunnel or a retaining wall to a railway track.
Some properties may be completely excluded from the rights of collective enfranchisement:
- buildings within a cathedral precinct;
- National Trust properties;
- Crown properties
Buying the freehold can be a difficult process. We recommend you get professional help from a solicitor and surveyor with experience in this area.
More information you might find useful:
- Collective Enfranchisement – Getting Started
- More Frequently Asked Questions on Buying the Freehold of Flats
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