Last edited 18 Nov 2020

Leasehold enfranchisement

The term ‘leasehold’ in property law describes a lease from the freeholder of a property that enables the leaseholder to use the property for a specified period subject to conditions set out in the lease in return for the payment of rent. At the end of the lease the premises revert to the freeholder. Leaseholders are sometimes also referred to as ‘tenants’.

A leasehold is in contrast to:

Leaseholders are entitled to know the name and address of their freeholder.

A leaseholder may be able to purchase the freehold of a property. This process is known as ‘leasehold enfranchisement’. This can be either by agreement with the freeholder, or for houses or flats, can be by right. This right is permitted under certain circumstances by the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 (as amended by the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002).

A leaseholder may be able to purchase a freehold by right if they have owned the lease to a house for at least two years, or if they own a flat, they may be able to buy it collectively with other leaseholders (collective enfranchisement).

The process is a complex one, with a number of conditions and exceptions. It is described in detail by the Leasehold Advisory Service:

Given the complexity, it may be wise for the parties to seek professional advice. This complexity can be seen in the cases of Day and Another v Hosebay Limited and Howard de Walden Estates Limited v Lexgorge Limited.


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