Collective Enfranchisement Deadlines
We recently acted on behalf of a freeholder who had received a notice pursuant to Section 13 of the Leasehold Reform, Urban Housing and Development Act 1993. This is the notice given by a group of qualifying leaseholders, who together are looking to ‘collectively enfranchise‘ and buy their freehold.
Regrettably, our client had failed to respond to the notice by the date required, which meant that they were unable to dispute the proposals contained within the initial notice (such as the premium to be paid). The leaseholders obtained an order from the Court confirming that they could acquire the freehold on the terms set out in their initial notice.
The Leasehold Reform, Urban Housing and Development Act 1993 sets out a number of strict deadlines that must be met. Where one party fails to meet those deadlines, the consequences can be severe. Here, the deadline in question was 4 months on from the date of the Order, by which time the leaseholders must have completed their purchase of the freehold or applied to the Court for an extension of time. They failed to do so, and our enfranchisement team correctly pointed out that as a result, their Section 13 notice was to be deemed withdrawn. The consequence of this was that the leaseholders were then unable to re-serve another notice for a period of 12 months, during which time the value of the freehold would continue to increase.
This highlights the importance, whether you are a freeholder or a leaseholder, of instructing a firm who have detailed knowledge of the law relating to enfranchisement, and the consequences of falling foul of that law.
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