Many houses are sold on a leasehold basis, although this is more commonly the situation for flats. When you own a leasehold house, your rights are very similar to those of leasehold flat owners.
The Leasehold Reform Act 1967 gives you the right to buy the freehold of your house (or, in some cases, extend the lease by 50 years) providing you (as a leaseholder), your house and your lease meet certain qualifying conditions.
Do I qualify?
You must have owned the house for at least 2 years.
Does my house qualify?
It must be a building reasonably considered a house (divided vertically from any adjoining house).
Does my lease qualify?
It must have originally been granted as a ‘long lease’ (i.e. for an original term of at least 21 years).
The lease must cover the entire house. It does not matter if the house has been divided into flats so long as you have the lease of the whole house.
There are certain exceptions to these conditions to keep in mind – for example if your freehold is owned by the National Trust or a charitable housing trust, or if your property is located in a designated ‘rural area’.
If you are considering buying the freehold of your leasehold house you are probably thinking at this point: “how much will it cost?” The valuation process as set out in the 1967 Act is complicated, and if you serve a Notice of Claim on your freeholder and begin the “enfranchisement” process, you are liable to pay your freeholder’s reasonable costs.
You would therefore be wise to take professional advice before beginning the process. We offer expert valuation advice for leasehold houses across the country, and if you call us today we will provide you with a free consultation and quote for our valuation services in a concise and clear way.