Leasehold Enfranchisement

Owners of residential flats (commonly referred to as tenants) have various statutory rights they may exercise against their landlord (often the freeholder of the building).

This area of law is known as 'leasehold enfranchisement' and in simple terms, includes the following: 

  • the right for a tenant to require their landlord/freeholder to grant to them an extended lease – this must be for a term of 90 years (plus the current unexpired term) at a peppercorn ground rent, in return for a premium payable to the landlord/freeholder
  • a right for tenants to collectively oblige their freeholder to sell to them the freehold interest in their building, in return for a premium payable to the freeholder
  • a right for tenants to collectively claim the 'right to manage' to the building they live in

This area of law is extremely complex, with many traps for the unwary, both for landlords/freeholders and tenants.

Our team of enfranchisement experts are on hand to guide both landlords/freeholders and tenants through the process.  Using their in-depth knowledge and experience, they provide sound, pragmatic advice. 

Our team has developed relationships with specialist surveyors operating in this niche area.  They can also call upon the support of the firm's corporate and dispute resolution teams where necessary, which enables them to make the process feel as seamless as possible.

Main areas of practice

The team's main practice areas include:

  • Lease extensions under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993
  • Freehold purchases under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993
  • Assignments of lease extension claims in conjunction with the sale of a property
  • Lease extensions and freehold purchases on a voluntary basis
  • Freehold sales/purchases and lease extensions of houses under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967
  • Freehold sales/purchases and other disposals which are subject to the right of first refusal provisions under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987
  • Claims involving absent landlords
  • Right to Manage claims
  • Applications to the First-tier Tribunal and County Court in relation to enfranchisement claims

Clients 

The team acts for individual and portfolio landlords, housing associations, investors, individuals and groups of tenants, in London and all over the country. 

Significant experience

Examples of the types of matters on which our leasehold enfranchisement team advise:

  • 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 for a tenant in a statutory lease extension claim where the title structure included two intermediate leaseholders, and a freehold reversion split between three separate titles, each with a different freeholder (one of whom was unrepresented). 
  • Acting on behalf of the tenant on two separate yet simultaneous statutory lease extension claims, for two flats on the same floor of a building.  The tenant contracted to buy the common parts between the flats prior to service of the statutory claims so that, on completion the area could be demised under one new lease.
  • Assisting tenant clients with statutory collective enfranchisement claims against the Cadogan Estate and St George’s Estate
  • 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. 
  • Assisting tenant clients with statutory enfranchisement claims for unusual, high value houses in Chelsea and Knightsbridge, acting against the Cadogan Estate and The Wellcome Trust respectively
  • Acting for the tenant on an enfranchisement claim for a house with limited rights due to the fact that part of the first, second and third floors on one side of the house were built over a roadway to the mews houses behind. 

“Caroline is knowledgeable and diligent. She can be tenacious when arguing a point but always has the clients' interests at the forefront of her mind; she is skilled in this specialist field and her approach is refreshingly clear sighted.”

Valuer London

“The handling of the case by Caroline exemplary and the residents are enormously grateful for her care and attention to detail throughout this very difficult case.”

Mr B London

“Caroline showed a dogged determination throughout the LVT and assisted our barrister and expert valuer ably and in a most helpful manner with all the documents and details at her fingertips. Our confidence in Caroline was well founded and clients can rely on the fact that she will achieve as good a result as possible for them whilst providing accurate, clear and concise advice.”

Mr A London

“Throughout this process, Caroline answered all of our questions clearly, enabling us to make informed decisions. Her knowledge and experience mean that she gave good advice, safeguarding our interests and ensuring that we reached our desired conclusion successfully.”

Mrs C Essex

“Despite the volume of work, Caroline has a well-rounded understanding of each individual case. She has great attention to detail and will always provide thorough replies to our enquiries. She is always contactable and very patient in taking the time to explain the process of each transaction, making it a very easy and friendly working relationship.”

Mr C London

“I found Caroline highly efficient, pleasant to deal with and extremely helpful at all times. She explained the ins and outs of the exercise very clearly, in language a layman can understand easily. I have recommended her to our next door neighbours who are planning to set up their own RTM company.”

Mrs O London

“Caroline was outstanding in her dealings with the landlord, and her tenacious manner inspired absolute confidence in her ability to achieve the best possible position for me. As a direct result of her exceptional negotiating skills, I have managed to secure a rapid and successful completion of my lease extension. This was almost unthinkable before Caroline took over the case.”

Mrs W Surrey

Main contacts

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