Buying the Freehold Interest

Extending your lease

The right to purchase the freehold of a building may only be exercised where the participating leaseholders represent at least half the total number of flats in the building; for example, if there are 20 flats in the building, at least ten of the flats in the building must participate in the purchase. Where there are only two flats in the building both leaseholders must participate.

Qualifying as a leaseholder

To be a qualifying leaseholder requires a long lease,
which is

  • a lease of a term of years absolute in excess of 21 years; (the present unexpired term is not relevant, qualification is governed by the original term of the lease when first granted)
  • a shorter lease which contains a clause providing a right of perpetual renewal
  • a lease terminable on death or marriage or an unknown date
  • the continuation of a long lease under the Local Government Housing Act 1989 following the expiry of the original term
  • a shared ownership lease where the leaseholder's share is 100%

But, even if the leaseholder satisfies the above criteria, you will not be a qualifying leaseholder if any of the following cases apply:

  • the landlord is a charitable housing trust and the flat is provided as part of the charity's functions
  • the leaseholder owns more than two flats in the building
  • the leaseholder has a business or commercial lease

The Building

  • there must be a minimum of two flats in the building
  • at least two-thirds of the flats must be leasehold
  • no more than 25% of the internal floor area to be in non-residential use

There is no right of collective enfranchisement (but there is a right to renew the lease) where:

  • the building is a conversion into four or fewer flats and not a purpose-built block and the same person has owned the freehold since before the conversion of the building into flats and he or an adult member of his family has lived there for the past 12 months
  • the freehold includes any track of an operational railway, including a bridge or tunnel or a retaining wall to a railway track

Some properties are completely excluded from the rights of lease extension and collective enfranchisement:

  • Buildings within a cathedral precinct
  • National Trust properties
  • Crown properties*

*Although the Crown is not bound by the legislation, the Minister has made a statement to the House of Commons that the Crown will be prepared to comply with the principles of it.

The Purchase of your Freehold (Collective Enfranchisement) will require a Valuation of the relevant Interests in the Building and Surveyline Valuers can advise Leaseholders and carry out the proceedure on their behalf.


If you would like us to place you in touch with a local Chartered Surveyor to advise you on Extending your Lease or Buying the Freehold please Click here for a quotation