fbpx

What is Collective Enfranchisement | An Advanced Guide

What is Collective Enfranchisement?

Leaseholders will own the freehold of the entire building which is why the term ‘collective’ is used. However, this is a complicated and lengthy process so it is advisable to instruct a Collective Enfranchisement Solicitor to do it for you.

It is also advised to get Collective Enfranchisement Valuation done from a surveyor to get an idea of the best and the worst amount that can be offered in the Initial Notice.

The best way to purchase a freehold by a group of participants is via a company set up for this purpose and all participating leaseholders will be members of this.

Why should you own a freehold?

Owning a freehold of your building individually or among a group of residents would mean you have more control over your own building and you will partly legally own the ground and the structure of the flat which can allow you to waive off the ground rent. Also, any lease extensions of the participating flats would be agreed upon between the participants at no extra cost.

If you want to modify your flat in any way or undertake an extension on your flat, a group of residents who own the freehold can look at this more approvingly than an external freeholder.

Additionally, you and your joint owners will gain the right to employ any property management company to take care of the maintenance and cleaning of communal areas, which would not have been possible in the case of an external freeholder.

Who and what qualifies for a Collective Enfranchisement?

Before the process is carried out, the building and the participating tenants must qualify for the Collective Enfranchisement.

Qualifying criteria for the building:

  • The building must contain at least two flats
  • It must be a self-contained building or be a part of a building with independent services to that part
    At least two-thirds of the flats must be owned by qualifying tenants (whose leases have more than 21 years remaining)
  • Not more than 25% of the internal floor area is being used for non-residential purposes, for example, shops or offices. Garages and parking spaces will be classified as residential areas

Qualifying criteria for leaseholder:

  • The leaseholder must have a lease which is for a period longer than 21 years
  • The leaseholder must not own more than two flats in the building

The Procedure for Collective Enfranchisement

Once you’ve checked that the building and the tenants are meeting the qualifying criteria the next step would be to form a working group and enter into a formal participation agreement which will set out the terms of the purchase and sharing of the Collective Enfranchisement Costs or premium between participating members.

Due to the complex legal procedure, it is recommended to join together and instruct a Collective Enfranchisement solicitor and surveyor to act for you. The surveyor will be able to perform a better valuation of the property and advise the amount to be offered in the Initial Notice.

The solicitor will usually advise you to set up a company for the purpose and all the participating leaseholders will then be members of this company. This will also be the Nominee purchaser who will be mentioned in the Initial Notice.

Once the surveyor has calculated the Collective Enfranchisement Cost the Initial Notice may be served, stating the name of the freeholders, the Nominee purchaser, and the premium you’re willing to pay. The freeholder then has a two-month window to come back and serve a counter-notice saying if they accept the request or not and put forward their terms and conditions if any.

If the freeholder disputes the premium the parties have a further six months to negotiate. If an agreement cannot be reached within this period then the matter can be taken to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal after that.

What is Collective Enfranchisement? An advanced guide

Collective Enfranchisement Costs

It is highly recommended to get a valuation of the property done by a Collective Enfranchisement Surveyor before proceeding with the legal formalities so the leaseholders can have an idea of the premium.

Though an exact value of the settlement figure is not really possible to predict, the surveyor should still be able to provide a ‘best and worst’ figure from the leaseholders’ perspective.

Also, note that the leaseholders will be responsible for their own costs as well as the freeholder’s surveyors and legal costs. If the matter gets referred to the Tribunal, each party will be responsible for their own expenses incurred during the Tribunal proceeding

How To Negotiate Lease Extension | Trick Revealed

So, you’ve finally found a place you’re comfortable with. The neighborhood is good, no leaking pipes and no creepy noise are coming from the walls at night, and just when you thought it couldn’t get any better than this, you realize that your next rent review is only around the corner, potentially threatening your idea of settling down for a bit. Now that will make you think about how to negotiate a Lease Extension so you can still retain your property while spending less on the cost of a  Lease Extension.

But don’t worry. Not everything has to be sad and gloomy. At LeaseholdValuations.com we hold your hand through the complicated lease extension maze and keep you up to date along the way, making the whole process much less stressful and run smoothly.

If you don’t know how much does it cost to extend a lease, there are various ways you can find that out, which we will discuss further.

When do you negotiate?

There are two ways you can approach this.

  • You could take the traditional approach where the leaseholder serves the Section 42 Tenant Notice, which is followed by the Section 45 Counter Notice from the freeholder where they usually decline the amount suggested and put forward their premium. Negotiations happening at the Section 45 Notice stage involve solicitors, surveyors, and additional expenses that they bring with them.
  • You could choose the alternate method where negotiations happen before the leaseholder serves the Section 42 Notice. In this case you’re in direct contact with the freeholder or the management company, you can directly write to them stating your intentions of extending the lease and see if they’re open for negotiation. This saves costs that you would normally pay solicitors or surveyors at the Section 42 stage.

At this point, they would either agree to your terms or present you with their own offer, which you can compare with our online valuation calculator. If they end up ignoring you, you still have the option of taking the traditional approach and serving them the Section 42 Notice.

You may serve your own Section 42 Notice, but it is a good idea to instruct a solicitor to do it for you because serving a Section 42 Notice is critical, and any errors can allow the landlord to apply to the court to have it dismissed. 

RICS Valuation

Get an RICS Lease Extension Valuation before serving the Section 42 Notice because specialist RICS surveyors can perform a precise valuation of the property and give you a good estimate of how much you should be willing to offer the freeholder to extend the lease while staying in the confines of the Leasehold Reform Act. 

Using an online Lease Extension Calculator

There are ways you can calculate your premium online using an online Lease Extension Calculator, which can give you a rough idea of how much the premium is going to set you back. But remember, it only gives you a rough idea because the calculator will give you an amount depending on what data you have input. The freeholder has the right to raise an argument that you are not qualified to value the property and to give any offers based on your valuation.

In circumstances where you do proceed with serving a Section 42 Notice based on a value obtained from an online calculator, the freeholder may ask you to still get the leasehold valuation performed from a qualified RICS Surveyor. This may again add cost to your budget, so proceed with caution.

Open up a dialogue as soon as you can

It is a good idea to establish direct contact with the freeholder and work out a deal that works for both of you. Start discussing your terms early on because the earlier you begin a conversation, the more time you have to convince the landlord and also find out if the landlord is amenable to a deal or not. Get in touch with them directly and try something like, “I have received an online valuation which shows that the premium should be less than you are offering. Can we discuss this and find something that we are  both happy with?” This can open up your opportunity to discuss your terms with the landlord.

Establishing contact with the freeholder before serving the Section 42 Notice will open up a discussion and will give the freeholder an idea of the kind of premium that you have in mind. Depending on their response, you can judge whether they are willing to bend or not. This can help you further down the line when finalising the deal.

This might not help if the freeholder you’re dealing with is a large company because they usually only respond to formal notices to extend the lease.

Serving a Section 42 Notice

Based on how your pre-section 42 notice negotiation goes with your freeholder, you may now ask your solicitor to serve a formal Section 42 Notice for a lease extension. However, keep the following points in mind before including an amount in the offer.

a) Don’t offer too low: If you offer an impractically low amount, the freeholder may outright reject your offer and claim that your offer is invalid due to it not being “bonafide” or “realistic” So, choose an amount that’s reasonable, and that gives some room for a discussion

b) Don’t offer too high: Obviously, the freeholder is looking for the highest amount possible, and by offering an amount that is too high, you’re leaving no room for negotiation. Consider this a missed opportunity to settle on a reasonable premium.

The best way to go about this is by putting forward an offer that is somewhere in the middle of the lowest and the highest premium received from the surveyor’s valuation.

Receiving a Section 45 Counter Notice

If the freeholder accepts your offer, it’s all sorted. But if they don’t accept the offer, they will propose a revised counter-offer, which will be contained in the  Section 45 Counter-Notice. Now depending on how much different the Counter-offer is and how much you’re willing to deviate from your original offer, there are two possibilities.

If the counter-offer proposed by the freeholder is not significantly different from your original offer and is not setting you back by a huge amount, you may proceed with finalizing the deal. Also, if the difference in the amount is not worth spending extra money on your surveyor for negotiating with the freeholder, you may accept the offer and close the discussion.

If you feel the difference amount is too high, you can get your surveyor to negotiate your lease extension. The negotiation will take place between your surveyor and the freeholder’s surveyor to reach a common ground while comparing both their valuations. Remember that the hourly charges for negotiations are remarkably high, and you may end up paying more money for negotiating than the actual difference in premium. So, compare them wisely before going ahead.

So, consider your budget, what exactly you can afford, and how far you’re willing to go to turn the deal in your favor.

Free Consultation

Call 01753 542984 for a FREE 10 minute consultation on your lease
extension or freehold purchase.