This is the process of freeing yourself from the slavery of a lease. The term applies only to residential property and there are various statutory provisions distinguishing the different rules for houses, individual flats and blocks of flats.
You have to serve the correct notices on your landlord and pay him a premium to compensate him for his loss once the property is purchased by you.
Freehold ownership means you own the property outright forever. Leasehold ownership means you only own the property for a set number of years after which it reverts to the freeholder.
You should take advice from your solicitor before buying. You can ask your seller to start the lease extension process before the sale, if they qualify. The law makes it possible for a buyer to take over the process if the seller has initiated the correct procedures, so you will not have to wait for 2 years to qualify yourself.
- A statutory notice is served requiring a response within 2 months.
- 2 months later the notice is admitted (but it could be that much sooner).
- As soon as the notice is admitted, the landlord may file an application with the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal and at the same time it will then be possible to enter into negotiations with the landlords’ surveyor. Those negotiations may endure for several months.
- After about six to eight months, if one of the parties has lodged an application with the valuation tribunal, a date for the hearing may be notified in two months.
- Once the price is agreed or determined by the tribunal, the statutory regulations allow that the landlord cannot serve a completion notice for one month and that completion notice must allow one month – so that’s two months in aggregate – and if completion has not taken place by the end of those two months, the landlord can serve a second notice requiring interest to be paid. If it has not been completed by the expiry of those two further months the claim is deemed to be withdrawn, the landlord can claim their abortive costs from the tenant and the tenant is debarred from making another claim for three years.