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Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Leasehold enfranchisement explained by Courtney Manton of Best Gapp estate agency

In a recent blog post on leasehold enfranchisement, Courtney Manton, partner at Best Gapp estate agents explores some of the complications surrounding the process. With over thirty years experience in the central London property market, he's worked with landlords and tenants on properties on crown and church estates in the area.

When a flat is purchased, the buyer may actually only be buying the lease to that flat for a certain length of time. The lease length could be anything up to 999 years. If the lease is a short one, then the tenant may wish to extend or buy it. This right to buy from the freeholder is called leasehold enfranchisement, and has been entrenched by the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act of 1993.

Buying or extending a lease has various complicating factors, not least the negotiation for the price of it. In areas where property is highly sought after, such as central London, the negotiations may need to be referred to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal. This can make the process of leasehold enfranchisement lengthy in some cases.

If a group of tenants wish to apply to buy or extend their lease together, the process is known as collective enfranchisement. There are various occupancy requirements that would need to be satisfied for this to go ahead, if they are fulfilled then the freeholder would need to be notified as a beginning to the process. 

Courtney Manton's experience means that he can shed light on the leasehold enfranchisement process. On crown estate property there are further potential complications regarding the length of the lease. Crown estate property can be found throughout the UK but there is a large concentration in London.

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