Extending your residential property lease, buying the freehold or managing leasehold flats

  • The process of extending your lease, buying a freehold or managing the leasehold building that you live in is called leasehold enfranchisement.
  • It can be a complicated process and not all solicitors have the requisite experience.
  • We have managed hundreds of lease extensions, purchase of freeholds and right to manage across the UK.

If you are looking to extend your lease or purchase the freehold, the legal process you go through is known as leasehold enfranchisement.

As this can be a complicated process, it makes sense to take advice from experienced solicitors.

Leasehold property ownership and short leases

If the lease on your property is less than 80 years, you may be looking for a lease extension. Or you may be looking to purchase the freehold, giving you greater control over your property.

Extending the lease of your flat

Leasehold flat-owners are entitled to get a 90 year lease extension at a fair market price. You are usually legally entitled to extend your lease if you have owned your flat for at least two years, regardless of whether you lived in it or not.

Buying the freehold or extending the lease on your house

Most leasehold house owners have the right to acquire the freehold as well as any intermediate leases on their home.

You are also entitled to a 50 year lease extension at a modern ground rent throughout the extended term and without payment of a premium. This option is rarely used, as acquiring the freehold is normally preferred.

You are usually entitled to purchase the freehold if the following three requirements are met:

  • The building qualifies
  • The lease qualifies
  • You, the tenant, qualify

Communally buying the freehold and extending the leases on a block of flats

Leasehold tenants who share a block of flats are entitled to collectively purchase the freehold and any head leases of their building.

You are usually entitled to purchase the freehold if both the building and the tenants qualify. There are a number of strict requirements and we can establish on your behalf whether you qualify.

Right to manage your building

Collectively, leasehold flat-owners have the statutory right to take over the management of their property from the landlord by setting up a special company – a right to manage company.

Right of refusal to purchase your flat

Where a landlord is proposing to sell his interest in a building containing your flat they must offer you first refusal to buy it, before offering it on the open market. They must give you a fair time to consider and cannot sell to anyone else in this time.

Recently purchased new-build leasehold properties

In December 2017 the government introduced measures to stop unfair and abusive practices within the leasehold system, including a ban on leaseholds for almost all new-build houses. If you have recently purchased a new-build leasehold property, there may be legal options available to you.

Negotiating with landlords can be a complex and stressful process. Regulations are often complex too. We can explain your rights, manage the negotiations on your behalf and ensure that the landlord complies with their duties and that any price for a lease extension or purchase of a property is fair and legal.

We have offices in London, Southampton, Lymington, Guildford, Woking and Richmond and offer specialist support to clients nationwide.


View our ‘Leasehold enfranchisement’ factsheet.