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Leasehold Enfranchisement

Enfranchisement is a complex and niche area of law with significant values at stake. The right of long leaseholders to buy their landlord’s interest outright or acquire an extended lease term creates a process in which all parties are eager to protect their individual property interests. It requires specialist legal advice and calls for a collaborative approach. At Thrings, we support our clients by providing procedural guidance and strategic, pragmatic advice based on their specific needs with a view to achieving the best possible outcome and maximising their property interests.

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Jayne Kemsley

Jayne Kemsley

Partner

Gemma Featonby

Gemma Featonby

Partner

Expert advice on enhancing your property’s value

Leasehold enfranchisement comprises unique statutory rights and procedures that apply to properties subject to residential long leaseholds. We are experienced in all leasehold reform procedures. Our services include advising on lease extensions, the collective acquisition of the freehold of a block of flats (collective enfranchisement), right to manage claims, rights of first refusal and the acquisition of leasehold houses. We also provide strategic advice to developer and portfolio clients and investors on managing enfranchisement risk and maximising their return.

We act for UK and international clients, landlords, leaseholders, property managers, investors and developers. We create a bespoke team of experts from our Property Litigation, Private Property and Company Commercial Teams ensuring the most appropriate and specialist expertise are readily available at every stage of the process. We also use our market connections to ensure that our team includes prestigious property professionals, such as enfranchisement valuers and specialist Counsel (if required) to provide trustworthy and established advice.

Where an agreement cannot be reached within the statutory timetable, our experience in representing clients in courts and tribunals ensures you have the best support.

Highlights

Our specialist Leasehold Enfranchisement Team has been involved in a number of high-profile cases in this area. Highlights include:

  • acting for a developer/landlord in Tribunal proceedings relating to a complex collective enfranchisement claim on a high-value property in Prime Central London containing over 60 units. The property was made up of several elements, which meant that there were various valuation challenges and contentions as to what was and was not included within the claim
  • advising 26 leaseholders on a number of management issues with their building resulting in a collective right to manage claim that enabled them to take control and resolve historical health and safety issues with the building
  • acting for a freehold owner of a building containing five flats – four held by long-lease tenants and one owned by our client. The leaseholders exercised a collective right to acquire the freehold from our client and issued proceedings. With the assistance of our client’s valuer, an acceptable premium was agreed, our client retained the freehold to part of the property and was granted a leaseback of their flat
  • acting for the landlord of a tenant seeking to extend their flat into loft space above. We served the requisite notices and dealt with the preparation and grant of the new lease, including necessary changes to the service charge provisions
  • advising a long leaseholder who, due to a previous non-statutory lease extension claim, unknowingly became an intermediate landlord for the purposes of a collective enfranchisement claim. With the assistance of our client’s valuer, our client received a payment of over £1.5m. We then commenced a lease extension claim in respect of the remaining leasehold interest on behalf of our client, which became contested with an application to the Court. After prolonged negotiations an acceptable agreement was reached to dispose of the matter before trial
  • advising a majority of long leaseholders within a central London building on their collective right to acquire the freehold of the building in order to resolve historic management issues and remove a troublesome contractor employed by the existing managing agent, thereby ensuring they were able to protect the value of their individual leasehold interests

Expertise

Our expertise in this area encompasses:

  • advising landlords and tenants on collective claims by long residential leaseholders to acquire the freehold of their building (‘collective enfranchisement’)
  • advising on the rights of long residential leaseholders to collectively take over management of their building (‘right to manage’)
  • advising on the expiry of long residential leases
  • advising on rights of first refusal
  • advising developers, landlords and tenants on property title and structures for the acquisition, sale and ownership of properties
  • advising landlords and tenants on leasehold extension claims
  • making and defending applications to both the Courts and Tribunals on all leasehold reform matters
  • advising on a long leaseholder’s right to buy the freehold of their house
  • providing strategic advice to landlords, investors and developers on managing enfranchisement risk of potential acquisitions and mixed-use developments
  • advising on the set up and structure of companies incorporated to acquire the freehold of buildings or the right to manage
  • advising on service charge apportionment, property management and the exercise of management powers subsequent to the acquisition of the freehold of a building or the right to manage

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