Leasehold Enfranchisement experts
Helping landlords and tenants assert their rights and protect their assets
Blake Morgan’s specialist Leasehold Enfranchisement team is on hand to guide you through this complex area of residential landlord and tenant law.
Leasehold enfranchisement covers a collection of rights available to tenants of flats and houses who hold their properties on ‘long’ leases originally granted for a term of over 21 years. Broadly speaking, the rights can be divided into two camps: extending the term of their lease or acquiring the freehold of their building.
Our expert Residential Property solicitors use their in-depth knowledge to provide you with sound, pragmatic advice so that you can avoid leasehold enfranchisement’s many traps for the unwary.
Main Areas Of Practice
Leasehold Enfranchisement law covers a multitude of leasehold-related issues.
Our team of solicitors are specialists in the following practice areas:
Lease extensions under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993
Tenants of flats have a qualified right to a 90-year lease extension at a peppercorn ground rent in return for the payment of a premium to the landlord. We assist tenants in making statutory lease extension claims and regularly act for landlords in conducting lease extension claims made against them.
Freehold purchases under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993
Groups of tenants in blocks of flats or converted buildings are entitled to join together to claim the freehold of their building so long as they can meet the minimum qualifying criteria. Our experienced lawyers are on hand to assist even very large groups of tenants in navigating these claims from preliminary enquiries all the way through to completion.
Assignments of lease extension claims in conjunction with the sale of a property
Tenants must own their flats for at least two years before being able to make a statutory lease extension claim. Our team of experts can deal with the assignment of lease extension claims on the sale of a property so that the purchaser avoids waiting for the two-year period to expire.
Lease extensions and freehold purchases on a voluntary basis
On occasion, the landlord may be willing to grant a lease extension or sell the freehold without insisting that the tenants make a statutory claim. These voluntary transactions grant a greater degree of flexibility to the parties, albeit without the protection of the statutory framework to structure the negotiations.
Freehold sales/purchases and lease extensions of houses under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967
Owners of leasehold houses benefit from leasehold enfranchisement rights under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967. Qualifying tenants have the right to claim a lease extension or purchase the freehold so that they own the property outright.
Freehold sales/purchases and other disposals which are subject to the right of first refusal provisions under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987
Landlords who wish to sell their head lease or freehold, grant certain leases of their property or otherwise dispose of their interest in a predominantly residential building may be caught by the right of first refusal provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987. This legislation requires that, in certain circumstances, the landlord must first offer their proposed disposal to the qualifying tenants in the building – failure to do so is a criminal offence.
Claims involving absent landlords
Tenants who would qualify for leasehold enfranchisement rights are not prohibited from doing so if their landlord cannot be found. Our solicitors are able to guide you through the complicated process of proving the landlord's absence, applying to Court to exercise your rights and asking the First-tier Tribunal to determine an appropriate price to be paid into Court.
Right to Manage claims
Our legal experts can advise whether tenants have the option of making a claim to exercise their right to manage the building. This gives the tenants much more control over repairs and maintenance but avoids the need to pay a premium to the landlord as the freehold has not changed hands.
Applications to the First-tier Tribunal and County Court in relation to enfranchisement claims
Our team of experienced lawyers is well versed in leasehold enfranchisement-specific applications to the First-tier Tribunal or County Court. Whether seeking a determination from the Tribunal on the price payable for a lease extension or applying for a vesting order to force the completion of a collective enfranchisement claim, we're here to help.
We act for individual and portfolio landlords, housing associations, investors and tenants either individually or as a group, whether they are based in London or further afield.
"I have used Louise Uphill on a number of occasions for property work and cannot recommend her more highly. She is extremely efficient, keeps in regular contact with her clients and gives good, clear and concise advice."
- Nigel Atkinson, Leaseholder, 2017
"They always respond very quickly, with good communication and good knowledge of what we are doing.”
- Chambers UK A Client's Guide to the Legal Profession 2016
"Their attention to detail is great. I have no hesitation in recommending the team to all manner of clients. The diligence of the team really shines through.”
- Chambers UK A Client's Guide to the Legal Profession 2015
Advising on numerous statutory lease extension claims, regularly acting for tenants in Prime Central London against the Cadogan Estate, The Wellcome Trust, Grosvenor Estate, St George’s Estate, Bedford Estate and The Crown.
Advising a privately owned London-based residential property investment company with their substantial property portfolio in St John’s Wood, Maida Vale, Kingston upon Thames and Portsmouth; dealing with voluntary and statutory lease extensions and property management matters.
Acting on behalf of the tenants in a notable case (The Earl Cadogan & Another v (1) 25 Hans Place Freehold Limited & (2) Freehold Estates Limited), in which the First-tier Tribunal determined firstly, that the Counter Notice given by the competent landlord was binding on the head leaseholder (a novel legal principle on which there was no authority) and secondly, that the tenants had a right to acquire the caretaker's flat as part of the freehold acquisition.
Awards and Accolades
Louise Uphill – listed on News on the Block's feature "The Hot 100" for 2 years running which identifies the most influential people in the leasehold property sector.
We are members of the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners.
Louise Uphill was a finalist two years running for the Young Professional of the Year Award at the Enfranchisement and Right to Manage Awards in 2015 and again in 2016.
In June 2019 the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government released a response to year-long enquiries into practices in the leasehold sector. In a 71 page report the Government...Read More
Louise Uphill, Senior Associate at Blake Morgan and Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners member, provides guidance on how leaseholders can get to grips with their leases and highlights key clauses...Read More
The Law Commission has published a Consultation Paper on the law of leasehold enfranchisement, which discusses widespread reform for leaseholders’ rights to: extend the lease of their house or flat;...Read More
After being invited to attend the Law Commission Symposium on 5 November 2018 to hear the proposals for enfranchisement reform and discuss how they will work in practice, Louise Uphill...Read More
Freehold and leasehold are the two main types of property ownership in the UK. Here we explain how these types of ownership differ and the considerations to note when buying...Read More
The government recently published the outcome of its consultation on improving the home buying and selling process. One of the resulting proposals was the introduction of reservation agreements. The government...Read More