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Residential Conveyancing

Enfranchisement & Lease Extension Solicitors

If you own a leasehold flat, you may be considering purchasing the freehold or extending your lease. Both these options can increase the value of your property and can be particularly advisable if the term remaining on your lease is relatively low.

Enfranchisement is the process of purchasing the freehold together with your fellow flat owners and will allow you to extend your leases once the purchase has been completed. Alternatively, you can deal with your landlord to purchase a lease extension.

At Kingsfords, our expert enfranchisement and lease extension solicitors in Ashford, Cranbrook and Hythe can advise you of your options and help you decide which process might be the best for your situation. We have extensive experience in the complex area of leasehold property law.

As well as in-depth legal expertise, we provide an outstanding service to our clients. We work proactively to keep transactions on track and we will make sure you are updated as to progress throughout. Our leasehold solicitors are easily contactable and we are always happy to discuss any concerns you may have and answer your questions.

Our enfranchisement and lease extension services include the following:

Speak to our enfranchisement and lease extension solicitors in Kent today

Speak to one of our leasehold extension and leasehold enfranchisement solicitors at our offices in Ashford, Cranbrook or Hythe today by calling 01233 624545.

Alternatively, please fill in our enquiry form on the right hand side of the page to request a call back.

Our enfranchisement and lease extension expertise

Collective enfranchisement or leasehold enfranchisement

Collective enfranchisement, also referred to as leasehold enfranchisement, can be beneficial to flat owners. It refers to the process of purchasing the freehold and once you own this, you will be able to take over the management of your flats yourselves.

The biggest benefit is being able to grant lease extensions without the need to pay a premium. Once the term remaining on a lease falls below around 80 years, a property will generally be worth less than it would with a longer lease. Mortgage lenders can be reluctant to lend when leases have less than 80 years remaining and the cost to extend a lease will also increase as the remaining term becomes shorter.

If you are considering leasehold enfranchisement, it is important that the correct process is followed so that you can enforce your rights if necessary.

We can deal with the following matters on your behalf:

  • Advise you as to eligibility, both in respect of yourself and other flat owners and in respect of the property
  • Draft a collective franchise participation agreement for you and your fellow leaseholders to enter into, setting out how you will manage the process
  • Represent you and your fellow freeholders in the collective enfranchisement process, including:
    • Advising on the selection of a nominee purchaser
    • Advising on how to decide on the right price to offer for the freehold, which will generally start with a formal valuation
    • Drafting the notice to serve on the freeholder or landlord and making the formal offer to buy the freehold
    • Receiving the landlord’s counter notice
    • Negotiating with the landlord on your behalf
    • Setting up a management company appointing you and your fellow leaseholders as members
    • Where necessary, representing you at the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) if it is not possible to agree on the price to be paid
    • Drafting the documentation for the freehold purchase
    • Arranging completion and registration of your ownership of the freehold with HM Land Registry

Voluntary lease extensions

If your landlord is prepared to extend your lease on an informal or voluntary basis, we can negotiate with them on your behalf and prepare the new lease for signature.

We will advise you on the potential terms, including the proposed new lease term, the ground rent, service charge provision and other conditions.

We will also advise you as to whether you might be able to secure a more favourable lease extension by using the formal or statutory route.

Statutory lease extensions

Under the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993, and the most recent Leasehold Reform Ground Rent Act 2022 flat owners generally have a right to extend their lease by 90 years and reduce the ground rent to nil, provided they are eligible.

We can discuss with you the benefits of doing this and deal with the formal legal process on your behalf. This includes serving a notice on the landlord and negotiating to try and agree on the premium to be paid.

It is important to follow the set legal procedure when dealing with a statutory lease extension. We will make sure that deadlines are met and that your rights and interests are observed.

Leasehold property disputes

We frequently deal with disputes arising between leasehold and freehold property owners as well as management company disputes.

We work to reduce conflict wherever possible and we are usually able to resolve disagreements without the need for litigation.

We can advise you of the strengths and weaknesses of your case and discuss with you the best course of action to try and secure your desired outcome.

  • Kellie Darke
      • Kellie Darke
      • Director (Licensed Conveyancer) & Head of Property
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Frequently asked questions about enfranchisement and lease extensions

How long does a lease extension take?

The formal lease extension process can take around six months, although this can vary greatly. If you and your landlord are able to agree on the premium to be paid early on, it could take a little less time than this.

If you need to negotiate or an agreement cannot be reached, then the length of time taken can be much longer. By using the statutory lease extension route, the term remaining on your lease will stop running down when the initial notice is served on the landlord. This means that while the process is dealt with, the time left on the lease will not reduce. This can be particularly helpful if the remaining term is approaching 80 years. Below 80, the premium required can increase more quickly.

Do you need a solicitor for lease extension?

Extending a lease is a complex process and you need to make sure that your rights are observed and that you get the best possible deal. If you ask us to represent you, we will be able to spot any potential pitfalls. We can advise you on the terms of a new lease and negotiate robustly where necessary to try and secure a better offer.

What is a Section 42 lease extension?

A section 42 lease extension is another name for Statutory lease extension as above, named for the relevant section of the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993.

How much does a lease extension cost?

It is not always straightforward to assess the cost of a lease extension. The starting point is to obtain a professional property valuation from a surveyor with expertise in lease extension valuations.  Kingsfords can put you in touch with one if you need us to.

The premium you will pay is based on:

  • The reduction in the value of the landlord’s interest in your property once they have granted you a lease extension
  • Any other losses they may incur, including the loss of ground rent for the remainder of the lease term
  • Where the term remaining on the lease is below 80 years, the marriage value of the property is taken into account – this is the increase in the flat’s value that arises because of the lease extension. Your valuer will be able to give you a range for the marriage value. This figure is split 50:50 between you and the landlord, and the landlord’s half is added to the amount you will be required to pay.
  • It is also based on the value and location of the property and market rates.

So it is important you understand this is not an exact science and the “premium” for your lease extension will give between two margins.  The higher rate premium and the lower rate premium.  You will also be required to pay the landlord’s reasonable expenses, including legal and valuation fees.

Why are we suddenly talking about enfranchisement here?  The government proposes reforming the enfranchisement process to make it simpler and cheaper for leaseholders. The proposals include abolishing marriage value and introducing a calculator so that leaseholders can easily find out how much enfranchisement will cost them.

Who decides how much a lease extension costs?

Ideally, you and your landlord or tenant will be able to agree on the premium amount to be paid that is fair and reasonable to both parties.  However, seldom is this the case.  We, or one of our recommended surveyor routinely negotiate to achieve the best possible deal for our clients in both leasehold enfranchisement and lease extensions.

Where a figure cannot be agreed upon, your case can be taken to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). This is a court which specialises in dealing with these types of property valuations. They will decide how much your lease extension will cost and they can also make an order relating to other related issues where necessary.

For more information in respect of our services, see our residential property solicitors page.

Speak to our enfranchisement and lease extension solicitors in Kent today

Speak to one of our leasehold extension and leasehold enfranchisement solicitors at our offices in AshfordCranbrook or Hythe today by calling 01233 624545.

Alternatively, please fill in our enquiry form on the right hand side of the page to request a call back.