11 July 2014 by

Lease Extensions and Enfranchisement just got a little easier!

Where a flat owner wants to exercise his or her right to a statutory lease extension or freehold purchase the legislation previously specified that the flat owner(s) had to sign the notice claiming the right personally. On 13 May 2014 the legislation giving flat owners these rights was amended so as to remove the personal signature requirement. This means that where a flat owner lives abroad or there are a large number of flat owners who need to sign a freehold purchase notice their solicitor can now simply sign on their behalf.

A major hurdle in an Enfranchisement claim (a collective freehold purchase) in the past has often been getting all of the flat owners to sign the notice. Where the claim relates to a large block of say 100 flats and at least 50 flat owners need to sign the notice a very long delay can ensue from instructing the solicitor to the actual serving of the signed notice on the landlord. The amendment to the legislation makes the process quicker and fairer for flat owners.

Equally, where a flat owner has a flat in the UK but lives or is based abroad, there can be practical difficulties and delays in getting the notice signed.

Another advantage of the amendment to the legislation is where a notice needs to be served quickly. In some instances flat owners are not aware of the term date of their lease, being the date on which their lease drops another year and the price of the lease extension or freehold will rise (sometimes dramatically). If the term date of a lease is approaching the notice will need to be served before the lease drops another year, the service of the notice freezes the valuation date meaning the lease will be valued with the longer lease. The amendment allows for a solicitor to be instructed and the notice to be served as soon as possible.

If you are considering a lease extension or freehold purchase and would like further information please contact  Darren Coleran (t) 020 7288 4775 (e) darrencoleran@boltburdon.co.uk in our leasehold enfranchisement team.

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