Whilst the legislation empowers leaseholders in this way, it is complex and extremely detailed. In order to ensure that the process is effective you need to use a specialist solicitor with considerable experience of the procedures involved. The legislation has been developed to make it considerably easier for leaseholders to take these actions but as the consequences for the freeholder are so great the legislation requires accurate and precise notification and adherence to deadlines and timescales.
Under The Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 owners of leasehold properties have the ability to apply to extend their existing leases or collectively with other leaseholders of the building purchase the freehold of the building.
Under the provisions of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 the leaseholders can take over the management of their building.
Under The Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 qualifying leaseholders can apply to extend their lease by adding 90 years to the current unexpired term. A premium would be payable to the landlord for the extension. It would be prudent to consider making an application under the Act to extend a lease prior to a lease reducing to 80 years . This procedure is open to all leaseholders who meet the qualification criteria and would not require the co-operation of the other leaseholders in the building or estate.
The Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 provides the right for the leaseholders to join together to Purchase the Freehold of their building.
Subject to the application meeting the qualification criteria under the Act the Freeholder cannot object to the sale.
Once the Leaseholders have purchased the freehold of the building they will then become responsible for managing the building. On purchase of the freehold of the building the tenants who have taken part in the purchase of the freehold often consider extending or varying their individual leases.
The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 makes provision for leaseholders to take over the Landlord’s management functions and so to take responsibility for the day to day running of their building.
At least half of the leaseholders of the building will need to agree to take this action. The landlord's consent to the transfer of the management arrangements is not required and even where there is an absent Landlord the leaseholders are able to apply to be able to secure the management.
There is no need to prove any mismanagement by the landlord or the current managing agent to implement the right. As long as the leaseholders are qualifying leaseholders and satisfy the provisions of the Act the freeholder/managing agent cannot prevent the transfer of management powers to a Right to Manage company.
Mandy Cowen at our Harpenden office has specialist knowledge in respect of all aspects of Lease extensions, Leasehold Enfranchisement and Right to Manage claims. Mandy acts for individual leaseholders, groups of leaseholders and freeholders in respect of the process. For more information on any of the above or the process generally, please contact Mandy Cowen.
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