Frequently Asked Questions
Please see below some frequently asked questions where you may find some answers you are looking for. If you haven’t found what you’re looking for, don’t worry. Feel free to contact us directly and we will respond to you as soon as we can.
In England and Wales, there are 2 main types of property; freehold and leasehold. If you own a freehold property, you own the property for an unlimited time period, as well as the land it stands on and the airspace above it.
If you own a leasehold property, you own your part of the building, but (in the case of a flat) not the walls, or building the property is in. The length and terms of the lease were set by the freeholder when the property was constructed or converted. Once the lease expires, you will hand the keys back to the freeholder. Having a short lease or unfavourable terms can cause awful problems for leaseholders, such as difficulty getting a mortgage or problems selling the property.
You can check the documents you were given when purchasing the house and this will be specified. Alternatively, you can send us a message and we will be able to help you out.
You don’t have to buy your freehold, but there are always advantages in doing so. If you are looking to sell or pass on your flat at any point in the future and the lease is approaching (or under) 80 years or has unfavourable terms, this could create problems. A shorter lease property is far less attractive to potential buyers and can cause issues with mortgage companies.
Another reason it could be a good idea to purchase your freehold is if you are unhappy with the current management of the building or are being charged an unreasonable ground rent. Being the owner of the freehold means you can remove these high ground rents, manage the building the way you’d like, and even improve your leases to make the terms fairer for you as leaseholders.
Due to differences in location, price and other factors, there are no fixed costs for a freehold acquisition. Generally, the amount you need to pay the freeholder should be lower for a freehold acquisition than a lease extension, and the benefits are far greater. Fees tend to be similar whichever process you follow.
If you are interested in acquiring your freehold, please send us an enquiry and we can put together a project proposal at no cost.
Purchasing a freehold can be very complex, with many different areas to keep track of. The process requires a lot of interaction with other companies and individuals, but if information is provided promptly by individual leaseholders the process can be very efficient. Via a Section 5 process (if you’ve received a notice), with no protracted litigation you could expect the entire process to be completed within about 8 months. Via the Section 13 process, without protracted negotiation, you could expect the process to complete within about a year. Of course, other external factors can affect the length of the process.
If you live in a block of flats that has little or no commercial space (e.g. a shop on the ground floor), then it is your absolute right to buy your freehold. You will need to get at least 50% of your neighbours together to purchase, but The Freehold Collective can help you with this, it’s not as daunting a task as it sounds.
No! You can buy your freehold at any point, and the price of an acquisition will increase over time, so it is always best to purchase your freehold sooner rather than later.
Whilst there are a number of good intentions in the recently published leasehold reform proposals, the industry opinion is that it is unlikely that these will have a real impact on leaseholders seeking to extend the leases or buy their freehold.
We help you by getting the right information to your neighbours and contacting lawyers and other professionals to carry out the process. Generally, two champion or lead leaseholders will be our main points of contact, but we will explain all major steps to the whole group for you. Provided you are happy with our proposed steps, the time commitment for leaseholders is quite minimal.