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Leasehold Reform

Buying the freehold of a house 

If you own a leasehold house, then you may be able to purchase the freehold under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967. This would enable you to hold a freehold title, rather than leasehold, and any ground rent you pay will be reduced to nil. Below we take a look at some of the frequently asked questions when enfranchising a house.

How do I qualify to enfranchise my house?

In order to qualify there are certain criteria involving the building, the lease and the leaseholder, outlined below:

The Building

  • The building must be reasonably considered a house for the purposes of the Act; there must be a vertical division.
  • The building may still qualify for enfranchisement if it was a house but has been converted into flats or contains an element of commercial use.

The Lease

The original lease must have been granted for a minimum of 21 years.

The Leaseholder

You must have owned the property for a minimum of 2 years.

What is the process for enfranchising my house?

  1. Instruct a Solicitor (we can recommend one) to advise on the correct valuation basis; either Section 9(1), 9(1A) or 9(1C).
  2. Once the basis of valuation has been established, instruct a valuer to carry out the full valuation report to provide the reasonable price you should expect to pay for the freehold and a lower figure for commencing negotiations.
  3. The Solicitor can then serve the relevant notice on the Freeholder to commence the enfranchisement process. No price is offered in the notice.
  4. Within two months, the Freeholder can respond with a Notice in Reply. However, if this has not been received, the freeholder is not in breach of the legislation and can still negotiate the price. It is good practice for the Freeholder to issue a Notice in Reply.
  5. Unlike a claim made under the 1993 Act, there are no set time frames for negotiations, although, an application can be made to the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) for determination.

How can Knight Frank help?

Knight Frank can assist you by carrying out a full valuation report and negotiating a reasonable price which is payable for the freehold purchase. We also liaise with your Solicitor throughout the process to ensure a smooth transaction. For further information please call our specialist Leasehold Reform Team on 020 7861 5046.


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