What is Leasehold Enfranchisement?
LEASEHOLD ENFRANCHISEMENT relates to flats and houses that are held, or ‘owned’ on long leases. A long lease is defined as longer than 21 years and leases typically will be for a term of 99 or 125 years but they can be longer, or shorter.
The ‘owner’ of the lease (the lessee or long leaseholder) is usually the person who occupies the flat or house under the terms of the lease, but they may also have let the property out to someone else on a short term tenancy. The lessee actually rents the property from the freeholder (landlord or lessor) who, technically, owns the land and building. The rent paid under long leases is usually a nominal ground rent of perhaps £25, £50 or £100 a year, but it can be higher and may increase over the term of the lease.
The lease is the critical document that formally sets out the legal relationship between the lessee and the lessor, giving parties rights and responsibilities, defining the extent of the property, the rent to be paid and how the cost of maintenance and other services is to be apportioned. While leases are usually complicated and difficult to read, they are legally binding on both parties and it is vital to understand what your rights and responsibilities are.
Leasehold Enfranchisement is the collective term for the process of giving greater control to lessees and makes it easier for them, amongst other things, to extend their leases, buy the freehold, or obtain the right to manage the building and appoint their own managing agent. The law governing this process is notoriously complex and has evolved over many years. Relevant legislation includes the Leasehold Reform Act 1967, the Landlord & Tenant Acts 1985 and 1987, the Leasehold Reform, Housing & Urban Development Act 1993 and the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002, as well as others.
To summarise, the principal areas of interest are:
- Lease extension
- Freehold acquisition OR Collective Enfranchisement
- Right To Manage
Leasehold Enfranchisement - The time is right for flat owners to look at their options.
Collective Enfranchisement - Collective Enfranchisement
Lease Extension - Lease Extension
The Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP) http://www.alep.org.uk
Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE) http://www.lease-advice.org
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