Acquiring the freehold – houses

If you are a long leaseholder of a house you may be thinking about purchasing the freehold. Becoming the freeholder means that you will not have to pay ground rent, you will be responsible for management of your own home and you will not need to worry about your lease running out.

Here is a brief overview of the process;

1. You must qualify

The rules governing qualification are complex however, in brief;

You must be a long leaseholder of a house ie. you must have been granted a lease for a term of 21 years or more;

You must have owned your home for at least two years;

There are certain exceptions such as you cannot acquire the freehold if your landlord is a charitable housing trust. If you fall within one of these categories you will not be able to go down this route.

2. Ascertain the likely purchase price

There are complex rules governing valuation of the freehold interest. One of the first steps is assessing affordability. You will need to approach a surveyor who will be able to value the freehold.

In addition to the purchase price you need to bear in mind that you will also be responsible for payment of your own valuation, conveyancing and legal costs as well as the landlord’s costs.

3. Serve your notice

This lets your landlord know that you want to acquire the freehold interest and how much you are willing to pay. Service of your notice creates a statutory contract between you and the landlord. By this contract you are bound to buy the freehold. You also become responsible for payment of the landlord’s costs at this stage.

4. The counter notice

The landlord should serve a notice in reply within two months of the date of service of your notice indicating whether it accepts that you have the right to acquire the freehold.

If the landlord accepts that you have the right to acquire its interest negotiations generally follow.

5. Make an application to the First Trier Tribunal

If the landlord disputes your entitlement or you cannot agree a price and you want to proceed then you need to make an application to the First Trier Tribunal to determine these issues.

Need advice? Let us help:

If you would like more information regarding the possibility of extending your lease please do not hesitate to contact Eleanor Cornthwaite on 0161 761 4611 or alternatively email; eleanor.cornthwaite@whnsolicitors.co.uk.